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THE following pages have been written to show the 
difficulties experienced by Roman Catholics in assent 
ing to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. No attempt 
is here made to write a complete account of the 
Vatican Council. Indeed, many subjects discussed in 
that Assembly are entirely omitted. Our interest is 
with one doctrine alone. What is attempted is, simply 
to sketch the inner history of Roman opposition to 
the dogma in different countries and several centuries, 
until and after the memorable Decree of i8th July 1870. 
We are simply concerned to show the process by which 
a very considerable section of Bishops, priests, and 
laity in the Roman Church were constrained to pass 
from one belief to its opposite. 

The literature of the subject is, of course, immense. 
A considerable part of the details here recorded have 
never appeared in English before. They lie buried in 
enormous German treatises, or in the vast official Acta 
of the Council ; or in the documentary collections of 
Cecconi, Von Schulte, Friedrich, Friedberg, and many 
others ; or in scattered pamphlets and periodicals to 
which access is now by no means easily obtained. 

The materials for a history of the opposition to the 
doctrine have of recent years largely increased. All 



the principal actors in the Vatican disputes have, by 
this time, passed away ; and a large series of biographies 
have placed at our disposal private letters never pub 
lished while they lived. 

But it will be obvious that an Ultramontane 
biographer of a Bishop who vehemently opposed the 
doctrine may be gravely perplexed between the con 
flicting claims of history and of edification. His loyalty 
to truth, his reverence for the personage of whom he 
writes, his regard for living authority, with its tremendous 
powers to revise, cancel, or condemn, his proper dis 
inclination to scandalise the faithful by rigorous records 
of episcopal unbelief, or to reveal the family disunions 
before an incredulous world are elements which, when 
they coexist, may, even in the sincerest mind possibly 
blend together in very various proportions. At any rate 
the biographies of certain great French Bishops of 
the Vatican struggle manifest marked reluctance and 
hesitation in recording fully the facts. And even when 
the facts have been fairly fully recorded, the English 
translator has for whatever reasons condensed them, 
we had almost said mutilated them, beyond recognition. 

The recently published selection of Lord Acton s 
letters has increased our knowledge of his attitude 
toward the Infallibility Decree ; but the entire omission 
of correspondence during ten most critical years of 
the struggle suggests, what other considerations endorse, 
that there is yet considerably more remaining unrevealed. 

Still, with whatever drawbacks, the resources at a 
writer s disposal to-day are vastly greater than they 
were some years ago. 


Accordingly the following pages are written under 
a strong sense that the material is ample, that the 
history of the minority has never yet for English people 
been fully told, and with a desire to supply the omission. 

It should be added that the adverse criticisms herein 
repeated are almost entirely derived from Roman 
Catholic sources, and are, as far as possible, given 
in the actual words. Protestant criticism has been 
systematically excluded. The object being simply to 
describe how the doctrine of Pontifical Infallibility 
appeared ; what difficulties, intellectual, historic, and 
moral, it created ; what fierce and desperate strife its 
increasing ascendency awakened ; how, and with what 
results, moral and intellectual, it was finally regarded, 
not by the outer world, nor by other religious com 
munions, but by clergy and laity within the limits of 
the Roman Catholic Church. 

Since these pages have passed through the press, 
Turmel s Histoire du Dogme de la Papaute has been 
placed upon the Roman Index of prohibited books 
(5th July 1909). It is therefore among that lengthy 
list of modern writings which no member of the Roman 
Obedience may "dare to read or retain." The interests 
of edification are conceived by Authority as incom 
patible with those of historical research. Such pro 
cedure deprives the historian of that freedom to report 
results without which history cannot be written. 

The author desires to express his deep indebtedness 
to the kindness of the Reverend Darwell Stone, 
Librarian of the Pusey House, who has read through 
the proof sheets of this book. He is of course in no 


way responsible for its contents; but it has been the 
greatest privilege to have the encouragement and aid 
of so critical and learned an adviser. 

NOTE. The number of Bishops who, though resident 
in Rome, absented themselves from the Vatican Council 
on the day of the Decree is variously given on page 268 
as 91, on page 271 as 70, and on page 281 as more 
than 80. It will be noticed that these variations are 
due to the authors quoted ; the first being that given 
by Quirinus ; the second by the letter of the Opposi 
tion to the Pope ; the third by Dr Newman. 


THE following list of books has been compiled, partly 
to show the editions to which references have been 
made, and partly as a help to study. It is, of course, 
needless to say that such a list has no pretensions 
whatever to completeness. 

ACTA. ConciL Vaticani. Collectio Lacensis. T. vii. 1892. 
ACTON. History of Freedom. 

Sendschreiben an einem Deutschen Bischof. 1870. 
ALZOG. History of the Church. 
ANONYMOUS. Ponrquoi le Clerge Fran$ais est Ultramontane. 


Ce qui se passe au Concile. 1870. 

AQUINAS. Opuscula Selecta. Paris. 4 vols. 1884. 

In Sententiis. 3 vols. Parma Edit. 

ARGENTRE, D J . Elementa Theologica. Paris. 1702. 
AUGUSTINE. Works. Gaume s Edition. 

BARRAL. Defense des Libertcs de FEglise Gallicane. 1817. 
BAUNARD. Hist, de Card. Pie. 2 vols. Paris. 1886. 
BAUSSET, Card. Histoire de Bossuet. 4 vols. 
BELLARMINE. De Controversiis. Works. 11 vols. Paris. 1874. 
BERGIER. Diet, de Theologie. 12 vols. Paris. 1876. 
BERRINGTON & KIRK. Faith of Catholics. 1830. 
BILLUART. De Ecclesia. 
BONNECHOSE. Hist. C. Constance. 

BOSSUET. Works. Ed. F. Lachat. 30 vols. Paris. 1864. 
BOTALLA. Infallible Authority of the Pope. 
BOURGEOIS ET CLERMONT. Rome et Napoleon. 3 vols. 1907. 
BRYCE. Biographical Studies. 

BUTLER. Historical Memorials of the English Catholics. 



Cambridge Modern History French Revolution. 

CARSON. Reunion Essays. 1903. 

CECCONI. Histoire du Concile du Vatican. French transl. 

4 vols. 1887. 

CHAUVIN. Le Pere Gratry. 1901. 
CHOUPIN L. Valeur des Decisions Doctrinale. 1908. 
CHRISMANN. Regula Fidei Catholiccz. 1854. 
CHRISTOPHE. Histoire de la Papaute, pendant le XIV. Siecle. 

3 vols. 1853. 

CLIFFORD, Lord. Letters to the Earl of Winchelsea. 
COBB, G. F. Few Words on Reunion. 1869. 
CONSALVI, Card. Memoires. 2 vols. Cretineau-Joly. 1864. 
Correspondant. loth Feb. 1906. Articles by Thureau Dangin. 
CYPRIAN. Ed. Hartel. 3 vols. 

DECHAMPS. L Infallibility et le Concile General. 1869. 

DENZINGER. Enchiridion. 1854. 

DoLLlNGER & REUSCH. Die Selbstbiographie des Cardinals 


. Declarations and Letters. 

DUCHESNE. Beginnings of the Temporal Power of the Pope. 1908. 
DUPANLOUP. Observations. 1869. 

. Lettre sur lefutur Concile (Ecum^nique addressee par 
Mgr. LEveque d? Orleans au clerge" de son Diocese. 

. SeeChapon. Mgr. Dupanloup et la Liberte. 1889. 
and Revue du Clerge Fran$ais. 1st May 1909, 
P- 375- 

FESSLER. True and False Infallibility. 1871. 
FLEURY. Histoire Ecclesiastique. Avignon. 1777. 
FoiSSET. C. de Montalembert. 
FOLLENAY. Vie de C. Guibert. 2 vols. 
FoULON. Darboy. 1 889. 
FRANZELIN. De Traditione. 
FRIEDBERG. Aktenstiicke. 1876. 
FRIEDRICH. Documenta ad illustrandum Cone. Vat. 2 vols. 


Db llinger. Sein Leben. 3 vols. Munchen. 1899. 

Tagebuch. 1871. 

GALLITZIN. Defence of Catholic Principles. 
GARNIER. Liber Diurnus. 


GASQUET. Lord Acton and his Circle. 
GERSON. De Auferibilitate Papa ab Ecclesia. 

. Life by Schwab. 1859. 

GHILARDI. Torquemada De Plenitudine Potestatis R. P. 1870. 
GLADSTONE. Vaticanism. 
GOSSELIN. Temporal Power of the Pope in the Middle Ages. 

Transl. by Kelly of Maynooth. 2 vols. 1853. 
GOYAU. LAllemayne religieuse. 5 vols. 1905. 
GRANDERATH. Vatican Council. 3 vols. 
GRATRY. Letters. 
GREGOROVIUS. Roman Journals. 

GRISAR. Laintz-Disputationts Tridentince. 2 vols. 1886. 
GUERANGER. De la Monarchic Pontificate. 1870. 
GUETTE"E. Histoire de FEglise de France. 12 vols. 1856. 
GUILLERMIN. Vie de Mgr. Darboy. 1888. 

HALIFAX, Lord. In Nineteenth Century. May 1901. 
HASENCLEVER. Das neue Dogma von der Unfehlbarkeit des 

Papstes. 1872. 

HEFELE. Conciliengeschichte. First Edition. 1855. 
Second Edition. 
French translation. 12 vols. Goschler and Delarc. 

English translation. 5 vols. from 2nd edition. 1872. 

(By Clark & Oxenham.) 

Honorius und das sechste Allgemeine Condi. 1870. 

HEFELE S letters will be found in Schulte. Altkatholicismus and 
Revue Internationale de Theologie (pp. 485-506). 1908. 
HOHENLOHE. Memoirs. 2 vols. 
HURTER. Compendium Theologies Dogmatics. 3 vols. 5th 

edition. 1885. 
HUSENBETH. Life of Milner. 1862. 

IREN^EUS. Ed. Harvey. 2 vols. 1857. 

JANUS. The Pope and the Council. Rivingtons. 1869. 
JEROME. Ad Rufinium. De Script Eccles. 
JERVIS. Hist. Ch. France. 2 vols. 1872. 

The Gallican Church and the Revolution. 1882. 

JOURDAIN. Hist. Univ. Paris. 

KEENAN. Controversial Catechism. 1 7th thousand. 1860. 


KETTELER. Le Concile (Ecumtniquc. Tr. Belet. (?) 1869. 

Liberte Antorite, Eglise. Tr. Belet. 1862. 

Das Unfehlbare lehramt des Papstes. 1871. 

Knabenbauer in Luc. 
KRAUTHEIMER. Catechism of the Catholic Religion. 1845. 

LAGRANGE. Hist, de Dupanloup. 3 vols. 

LAMENNAIS. CEuvres Completes. 14 vols. Paris. 1836. 

Correspondance. Ed. Forgues. 2 vols. 1863. 

LANGEN. Das Vat. Dogma. 5 vols. 1870, etc. 
LAYMAN (Rom. Cath.). Reasons ivhy a Roman Catholic cannot 

accept the doctrine of Papal Infallibility as defined by 

the Vatican Council. 1876. 
LENORMANT. Les Origines de FHistoire. 
LETO (POMPANio). Eight Months at Rome. 1 876. 
LICHTENBERGER. Encyclopedic des Sciences Religieuses. 12 vols. 
LIDDON. Life of Pusey. 4 vols. 

LIEBERMANN. Institutiones Theologica. 5 vols. 1831. 
LUZERNE, DE, Card. Works. Migne. 6 vols. 

MAISTRE, J. DE. (Euvres. 8 vols. Bruxelles. 1845. 
MANNING. Pastoral. 1867. 

Petri Privilegium. 

MARET. Du Concile General. 2 vols. 1870. 
MARIN. De V Infallibilite Doctrinale. 1870. 
MARTIN, CONRAD. Dogmatik. 
MELCHIOR, CANO. Opera. 3 vols. Rome. 1890. 
MlCHELlS. Der hdretische Charakter des Infallibilitdtslehre. 


MlLNER. End of Religious Controversy. Ed. 2. 1819. 
MOZLEY. Essay on Development. 
MURRAY. Trac tatus de Ecclesia Christi. 3 vols in six parts. 1862. 

NEWMAN. Letter to Bishop Ullathorne Standard Newspaper. 

7th April 1870. 

Letter to Duke of Norfolk. 

NIELSEN. Geschichte des Papstthums. 2 vols. 1880. 

OLLIVIER (EMILE). D Eglise et LEtat. 2 vols. 
ORSl. De irreformabili Romani Pontijicis in definiendis Fidei 
controversiis judicio. 3 vols. Rome. 1739. 


PALLAVICINI. Hist. C. Trent. 

PASTOR. History of the Popes. English translation. 1891. 

PERRAUD, A. Le P. Gratry ses Derniers Jours. 1872. 

PERRON, Du, Card. Les Ambassadeset Negotiations. Paris. 1623. 

PERRONE. De Traditione. 


Pius IX. Brief to Archbishop of Munich. See ACTA, Cone. Vat. 

PULLER. Primitive Saints and Roman Church. 

PURCELL. Life of Manning. 

Life of Ambrose de Lisle Phillipps. 2 vols. 1900. 

QuiRlNUS. Letters from Rome on the Council. 1870. 

REINKENS. Ueber die Einheit der katholischen Kirche. 1877. 

Kniefall und Fall des Bischop Ketteler. 1877. 

REUSCH. Letters in Schulte Altkatholicismus. 
REVIEW. Dublin. 1869. 

Home and Foreign. 1863. 

Rambler. 1862. 

Revue des Deux Mondes. 1858. 
RICHERIUS. Vindicia Doctrines Majorum. 1683. 
ROSIERE. Liber Diurnus. 1869. 
RUDIS. Petra Romana. 1869. 
RUMP. Die Unfehlbarkeit des P. 1870. 
RYDER. Idealism in Theology. 1867. 

SALMON. Infallibility. 

SCHULTE. Der Altkatholicismus. 1887. 

SCHWANE. Histoire du Dogme. 6 vols. References to the 

French translation of the Dogmengeschichte. 
SICARD. LAncien Clerge de France. 3 vols. 

Tablet, the. 1869. 

THEINER. Acts of the Council of Trent. 

THUREAU DANGIN. La Renaissance Catholique en Angle terre an 

xix Siecle. 3 vols. 1906. 
TURMEL. Hist. Theol. Positive. 1906. 

Histoire du Dogme de la Papaute. Paris. 1908. 

ULLATHORNE (Bp.). Letter on the Rambler. 1862. 

Autobiography. 2 vols. 


UUnivers. 1869, 


VERON, FRANCIS. Regula Fidei. Ed. Sebastian Brunner. 1857. 
VEUILLOT L. Rome pendant le Concile. 
VINCENT of Lerins. Commonitorium. 

WARD (BERNARD). Dawn of the Catholic Revival. 2vols. 1909. 

(W.). Life of Wiseman. 2 vols. 1900. 

(W. G.). Essays on the Church s Doctrinal Authority. 
WATERWORTH. Council of Trent. 1848. 
WORDSWORTH, CH. Miscellanies. 3 vols. 1879. 











IX. BOSSUET .... .... 85 













INDEX 37, 




THOSE who do not identify history with heresy will 
always desire to know how a Christian affirmation of 
the present compares with the past. Whatever validity 
faith may attach to the teaching of the Church of to-day, 
there must be reasons and reasons which demand and 
justify an enquiry into the doctrine of other ages. If 
serious discrepancies would cause perplexity, unforeseen 
harmonies would confirm. In any case the refusal to 
examine is not the product of a genuine faith. For, 
after all, history is, if on one side human, on another 
divine. Moreover, the actual development of human 
thought must be of profoundest living interest. This 
enquiry, then, must be undertaken in reference to the 
doctrine of Papal Infallibility. For it is, in a large 
portion of modern Christian life, an existing affirmation. 
The question is, What relation does the doctrine bear 
to the facts of History? And obviously, first of all, 
what does Scripture say ? 

The Ultramontane, so far as he founds the doctrine 
on Scripture language, finds it chiefly in the words of 


our Lord to St Peter : " I have prayed for thee, that thy 
faith fail not ; and when thou art converted, strengthen 
thy brethren." 1 Now seeing that this dogma of Papal 
Infallibility would be, if true, no less than fundamental, 
it is necessary to dwell at length on the asserted 
scriptural witness to the same. For those who believe 
that fundamental Christian truth must be traceable to 
the records of Revelation must test each doctrine by 
what is told them there. And we are here concerned 
with the express words of Christ. And the issues 
which depend on a right understanding of the 
Redeemer s words are, as all Christians will acknow 
ledge, momentous. 

The Roman interpretation of this passage maintains 
the following points ; 

1. That Christ here confers on Peter an exclusive 
prerogative, on the ground of Peter s superior position ; 

2. That this prerogative is infallible insight ; 

3. That thereby he was enabled to give infallible 
instructions to his brethren ; 

4. That this prerogative extends to all Peter s suc 
cessors and to none but those the prerogative being as 
exclusive in its range as it was in its origin. 

There is, however, another interpretation which has 
been in substance and in many details accepted by 
members of the Roman Church, and which is unable 
to find any of these doctrines in the words of Christ. 

There are clearly four points to be considered : 
Christ s Prayer ; Peter s Faith ; Peter s Brethren ; 
Peter s Successors. 

i. First, then, Christ s Prayer : I have prayed for thee. 

i. Certainly it was an exclusive prayer. Satan hath 
desired to have you, collectively; but I have prayed 
1 Luke xxii. 32. 


for thee, Peter, individually. Christ here prays for the 
one : for the others, on this occasion, He does not pray. 

Does not this imply, asks the Ultramontane, the 
superiority of the individual thus selected and dis 
tinguished? Does not Christ here place the security 
of the many in the security of the one? If the leader 
and chief is protected, those who follow him and obey 
him will be secure. This exposition labours under the 
double defect of assuming a theory of Peter s supremacy 
and of ignoring the historical circumstances which 
prompted Christ s words. That the prayer was ex 
clusive is true. But exclusive petition does not neces 
sarily imply the greater superiority of the person prayed 
for ; it may equally well imply his greater need. 
Remembering that Peter alone was on the verge of a 
triple denial, no wonder he became the object of an 
exclusive prayer. If his confident self-reliance, together 
with his impulsive temperament, laid him open to perils 
from which the Twelve were exempt, what else could 
his Master do than offer special intercession for 
him ? To build a theory of permanent prerogative as 
universal teacher on the fact of Christ s exclusive 
petition is therefore to forget that the historic circum 
stances, which elicited our Lord s concern, suggest a 
totally different explanation. 

2. Moreover, while we are reminded that Christ s 
prayer was exclusive, we should also be reminded that 
it was conditional. 

It seems at first sight a natural outcome of Christian 
piety to assume that whatever Christ prayed for 
was certain to come to pass. Is it not written, " I know 
that thou hearest me always"? But the effectiveness 
of Christ s prayers must take into account our human 
independence. To say that the prayer of Christ must 
necessarily realise its design, is really to reduce mankind 


to a mechanism upon which the Spirit plays. But 
this is false to Christian teaching and human experience. 
The prayers of Christ are invariably conditional upon 
the human response. They demand human co-operation. 
The prayer for Peter unquestionably implies that the 
resources needed to discharge his function would be 
placed at his disposal, provided that he yielded his 
will to the offered grace. But that Peter would invari 
ably fulfil the essential conditions, Christ s petition does 
not affirm and cannot even suggest. It cannot mean 
unconditional security, exemption from the liabilities 
of human weakness and imperfection, apart from all 
considerations of personal effort and moral state. 

ii. The second object for our analysis is Peter s Faith 
and here two points arise : What is meant by "faith " 
and what is meant by "fail" 

1. Now when our Lord says "faith," the meaning is 
in general not difficult to ascertain. The faith which, if 
present, could remove mountains, or, if absent, hinders 
His merciful works, is plainly not so much an intellectual 
assent to a number of propositions, as a moral relation 
to a Person ; a devotion to Himself, demanding qualities, 
not only of the intellect, but also of the affections and 
of the will. It is a quality inseparable from love. It 
may exist in many varying degrees. 

2. What, then, is meant by " fail " ? The Greek term 
here translated "fail" sometimes describes an eclipse, 
which to the primitive imagination suggested death, 
much as we talk of the dying day. "Thou art the 
same and thy years shall not fail," x means shall not 
cease, or come to an end. 

3. Accordingly, by "a faith which should not fail," 

1 Heb. i. 12. 


our Lord described a personal devotion to Himself, 
which should never cease to exist. But we must care 
fully distinguish between the inward quality of faith 
and its outward expressions. St Peter, in the subse 
quent denial, failed ; not in his inward belief, but its out 
ward expression. The failure was not in his thoughts 
but in his words. As a fact, his outward expressions of 
faith were not protected from error. He said exactly 
what his intellect contradicted, what he knew was 
false. The natural inference is that the prayer of 
Christ was concerned with Peter s inward spiritual 
state, not with the outward phrases. A very able Roman 
writer saw this plainly enough. Consequently, he says, 
Christ demanded here for Peter two privileges not 
merely one : first, that he should never lose his faith ; 
secondly, that as Pope he should never teach anything 
contrary to the faith. That is what the Ultramontane 
position would require. But that is exactly what did 
not happen at the denial. The prayer of Christ did 
not secure St Peter from false expressions. Nor did 
it secure Peter s personal devotion from a temporary 
eclipse. But even if Peter s dogmatic insight remained 
unclouded, that would help his brethren comparatively 
little if his official utterances could be mistaken. And 
it was expressly in his utterances that he did fail. 

iii. The third theme for analysis is the Strengthening 

his Brethren. 

I. Now to strengthen is to give support. It is 
employed several times by St Paul. As when he says : 
" I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some 
spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established 1 He 
says he sent Timothy " to establish you, and to comfort 
you concerning your faith." 2 He speaks of " stablish- 
ing your hearts unblameable in holiness " ; 8 prays that 

1 Rom. i. ii. 2 i Thess. iii. 2. 3 i Thess. iii. 13. 


God will "comfort your hearts and stablish you in 
every good word and work"; 1 and says "the Lord is 
faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from 
evil." 2 So St Peter desires that God would " stablish, 
strengthen, settle " 3 the Christian ; and says that 
Christians are " established in the present truth." 4 
The Revelation of St John again says : " Be watchful 
and strengthen the things which remain, which are 
ready to die." 5 

This scriptural use of the term "strengthen," or 
" stablish," shows conclusively that any kind of moral 
support may be intended. The strengthening may be 
that which Divine Grace supplies ; or that which comes 
from the knowledge of the Truth ; or that which comes 
from the encouragement of Christian ministers. But in 
no solitary instance is there any suggestion of infalli 
bility as essential to enable one to be a strengthened 
Thus, " when thou art converted, strengthen thy 
brethren," would naturally mean, When thou hast by 
repentance recovered from thine own moral infirmity, 
do thou become a moral support to the impulsive and 
the weak. It is a merciful promise to St Peter before 
his sin, of restoration to Apostleship after the sin had 
been committed. It suggests that even through the 
denial he may gain a humility and self-knowledge 
which may enlarge his sympathies and increase his 
strength. It is all in the moral rather than in the 
purely intellectual sphere. 

2. But further : The utterance, " strengthen thy 
brethren," is a command and not a promise. We 
cannot infer, from a duty enjoined, its invariable fulfil 
ment. Otherwise, we are all perfect : For this com 
mand is laid upon us all. Moreover, whatever Peter 

1 2Thess. ii. 17. 2 2 Thess. iii. 3. 

a i Peter v. 10. 4 2 Peter i. 12. 6 Apoc. iii. 2. 


may have done, what is certain is that at Antioch he did 
not strengthen his brethren. All human analogy would 
suggest a more or less imperfect human endeavour to 
fulfil a divinely appointed ideal. 

iv. The fourth and last point for consideration is Peter s 

1. Now, first, our Lord does not mention them. They 
are not mentioned even by implication. There is no 
necessary implication, unless we assume, a priori, as 
some Roman writers do, that such a prerogative could 
not be restricted to a single generation, nor to the 
Apostolic Age; 1 and therefore that the function of 
Peter in strengthening his brethren must be continued 
to his successors to the end of time. But by no process 
of interpretation can this be derived from the words of 
Christ. It can be read into them : it cannot be read 
out of them. Whether false or true, it is certainly 
not what our Lord has said. 

Moreover, since the prerogative here conferred on 
Peter was the prerogative of sympathy learnt by the 
humiliations of failure, not the gift of Infallibility, its 
perpetuation among his successors could not confer upon 
them what it did not confer on him. If our exposition 
of this prayer of Christ be correct, the extension of the 
prerogative over a series of successors would be doubt 
less morally valuable but of no dogmatic use. 

2. Moreover, if the words, " strengthen thy brethren," 
apply to Peter s successors, so do the words " when thou 
art converted." Bellarmine himself saw this, and was 
disturbed by it. He suggested that " converted " must not 
be understood as moral renovation and repentance, but 
as an adverb equivalent to, " in turn," as if the passage 

1 So Vat. C. , cf. Knabenbauer in Luc. 


ran I have strengthened thee, do thou in thy turn 
strengthen thy brethren. Or else it might mean so it 
was suggested Having turned your attention to them, 
exercise your Infallibility. But even if the sentence, 
" when thou art converted," bore no allusion to Peter s 
denial, still no possible exegesis can justly elicit the 
Infallibility of his successors out of the injunction 
" strengthen thy brethren." Peter s successors would be 
thereby ordered to bestow moral support upon their 
weaker brethren. But whether they would obey this 
command and fulfil it with more invariable exactitude 
than he to whom it was spoken, is a question of his 
torical investigation and not of a priori theory. 

The preceding exposition has been very largely 
derived from Roman Catholic sources ; from the 
writings of Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, opposing, in 
behalf of the Church of France, the Ultramontanism 
of the seventeenth century ; of Barral, Archbishop of 
Tours, in the early nineteenth century; of Bishop 
Maret, and of Gratry, just before the Vatican Council 
of 1870 ; of Dollinger, prior to the rupture with Rome ; 
of Archbishop Kenrick of St Louis, in the speech 
which he intended to deliver in the Vatican Council, 
in exercise of his divine right as a Bishop, but whose 
delivery was prevented by the closure of the discussion. 



ROMAN writers have differed greatly in their view of 
the Patristic evidence for Papal Infallibility. Some 
have found very little definite statement in the Fathers, 
upon which they thought it wise, at any rate in contro 
versy, to rely. 

Cardinal Bellarmine l makes but scanty appeal for 
this doctrine to the Age of the Fathers. He contents 
himself with asserting first that the Patriarchal Churches 
of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch have been 
presided over by heretics, whereas Rome has been 
exempt from this calamity ; 2 and secondly, he observes 
that Popes have passed judgment on heresies apart from 
any Council, and that their decisions have been accepted. 
This asserted exemption of the Roman Church from 
heresy he claims as identical with impossibility of 
heresy ; and this acceptance of decisions as an acknow 
ledgment of Infallibility. Bellarmine s meagre use of 
the Patristic period to prove the doctrine of Papal 
Infallibility is strikingly contrasted with his ample use 
of the same to prove the primacy or the authority of 
the Roman See. And this difference of appeal in the 
two cases means a capacity to distinguish between 
authority and Infallibility. 

Other writers have seen Infallibility implied in every 

1 See Controv. 2 Cf. Turmel, Hist. Theol. Positive, p. 303. 



recognition of authority or primacy ; in every judicial 
sentence of the Roman See. 

A third section of Roman theologians has been 
definitely unable to discover the doctrine anywhere in 
the Patristic period. Among the more critical and 
historically-minded of recent Roman writers there is a 
belief in the doctrine, independent of any evidence for it 
in the Age of the Fathers ; indeed often coupled with 
an acknowledgment that the period does not yield to 
their scrutiny instances either of its recognition as a 
principle, or of its exercise as a fact. Advancing to the 
Patristic times with the definition of Infallibility as given 
in the Vatican Decree, they affirm that one essential 
condition of its exercise is deliberate intention to 
instruct the Universal Church. All instruction not 
given with that express intention is entirely outside the 
range of Infallibility. Evidently the great mass of 
judicial decisions, appeals to Rome, recognitions of its 
authority, praises of its impartiality and rectitude, asser 
tions of the danger of disobedience to its words, have 
nothing to do with the doctrine of Infallibility ; and 
are acknowledged by this school of Roman writers to 
be no proof of the doctrine s existence. This recent 
Roman attitude involves an entirely different estimate 
of Patristic evidence from that formerly prevalent 
among the Ultramontanes. It brings the Ultramontane 
curiously round to agreement with the opposite school 
as to the actual contents of the Patristic period. There 
is far less readiness to-day than formerly to assume that 
inferences which appear to a modern Ultramontane neces 
sarily obviously involved in a statement or a claim, were 
really actually seen and understood and accepted among 
the primitive writers by whom the statement or claim was 
made. This is a sign of a more historic spirit, and 
therefore exceedingly hopeful. 

".] ST IREN^EUS ii 

Of course the doctrine s recognition as a theory is 
separable from its exercise as a fact. Many Roman 
Catholic writers have not only maintained that during 
the Age of the Fathers no case occurs of its exercise ; 
but that the principles advocated demonstrate that 
it was not even recognised as a theory, since by 
those very principles it is actually excluded. Roman 
opponents of the doctrine have also pointed out that 
no profession of belief in the infallibility of the Church 
can be adduced to prove belief in the infallibility of 
the Pope for the simple reason that many Roman 
theologians who believed the former have rejected the 

All that can be done in a limited space is to select 
the chief examples of the Patristic teaching ; and then 
to show how the Ultramontanes and their opponents 
employed them. 

I. A crucial instance is the famous language of St 
Irenaeus : 

" It is within the power of all, who may wish to see 
the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the 
Apostles manifested throughout the world in every 
Church ; and we are able to enumerate those whom 
the Apostles appointed to be Bishops in the churches, 
and their successors, quite down to our time, who 
neither taught nor knew anything like what these 
[heretics] rave about. Yet surely if the Apostles had 
known any hidden mysteries, which they were in the 
habit of teaching to the perfect apart and privily 
from the rest, they would have taken special care to 
deliver them to those to whom they were also com 
mitting the churches themselves. . . . But because 
it would be too long in such a volume as this, to 
enumerate the successions of all the churches, we point 
to the tradition of the very great and very ancient and 
universally known Church which was founded and 


established at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, 
Peter and Paul ; we point, I say, to the tradition which 
this Church has from the Apostles, and to her faith 
proclaimed to man, which comes down to our time 
through the succession of her Bishops. . . . For to this 
Church, on account of its more influential pre-eminence, 
it is necessary that every church should resort that is 
to say, the faithful who are from all quarters ; and in this 
Church the tradition, which comes from the Apostles, 
has ever been preserved by those who are from all 
quarters." 1 

This classic passage, says a Roman writer, 2 proves 
how universal was the belief in the Sovereign Pontiffs 
Infallibility. It does not merely state a fact : it enunci 
ates a principle. Accordance with the traditional 
doctrine of the Church of Rome is here stated to be 
the duty of all churches. But how could this be so, 
unless the Pope was the infallible organ of Apostolic 
teaching? The holy martyr calls, says another, the 
faithful of the entire Christian world to the Roman 
Church, that they may drink in the Apostolic truth 
without fear of error or misleading. 3 What else is this 
but infallible authority? 4 

On the other side a Roman historian of dogmas 
writes : 

" Irenseus was not contemplating the case of contra 
dictions between churches founded by the Apostles. . . . 
There existed at that period complete agreement in 
faith and doctrine. Consequently, the Fathers had no 
cause to consider a case of disagreement between 
Apostolic churches." 6 

According to the French Bishop Maret, 6 the principle 

1 St Irenaeus, III. iii. pp. 1-2, trans. F. Puller, p. 20. 

2 Botalla, i. p. 79. 3 Perrone, p. 38. 4 Cf. Bellarmine, p. 267. 
6 Schwane, Histoire du Dogme, i. p. 667. 

6 Maret, Du Candle Gtntral, ii. p. no. 

ii.] ST IREN^EUS 13 

laid down by Irenaeus is an appeal to tradition mani 
fested in all the Apostolic churches. He considers that 
truth is to be found in the tradition manifested in all 
the Apostolic foundations. But for the sake of brevity 
it is enough to consult the tradition of the Roman 
Church. Maret acknowledges a primacy in the Roman 
Church, but cannot believe that Irenaeus would dis 
allow the rightfulness of consulting the tradition of the 
Universal Church in which Irenaeus himself considers 
the Truth is found. 

Gratry, in his famous letters during the Vatican 
Council, goes further than this, for he quotes the 
sequel to the passage of Irenaeus, and underlines the 
statement which shows that the principle which this 
primitive writer considers Catholic is an appeal to the 
ancient Churches (plural) and by no means exclusive 
appeal to one. 

"... It is not then necessary to seek elsewhere the 
truth, since it is easily found in the Church, the Apostles 
having made of the Church a rich bank, in which they 
have amassed all the treasures of truth ; so that every 
man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of 
life. . . . Thus if a dispute should arise relative to a 
detail of tradition, should we not have recourse to the 
most ancient Churches (nonne oporteret in antiquissimas 
recurrere Ecclesias, in quibus Apostoli conversati sunt) in 
which the Apostles themselves have lived, and learn 
from them immediately what is certain and clear upon 
the question ? " x 

Upon this passage Gratry observes : 

" The reader has here before him the whole doctrine 

of St Irenaeus upon this subject. This doctrine is 

perfectly clear. It is almost the same as that of 

Tertullian, who says : Run over the Apostolic Churches, 

1 Gratry s second letter. 


in which are found the chairs of the Apostles, upon 
which are seated the Bishops who succeeded them, in 
which are still read their authentic letters, each echoing 
the voice and representing the face of its author. Is 
Achaia near to thee? Thou hast Corinth. Art thou 
near Macedonia ? Thou hast Philippi ; thou hast the 
Thessalonians. If thou canst travel into Asia, thou 
hast Ephesus. If thou art near to Italy, thou hast 
Rome, where we can find also authority at hand/" 

The thesis of St Irenaeus, adds Gratry, is this : We 
must bring back heretics "to the tradition of the 
Apostles, which, by their successors, is preserved in 
the Churches." And " when there is any doubt, we 
must have recourse to the Ancient Churches." 

2. In the case of St Cyprian (A.D. 250) special 
difficulties arise owing to controversies on the actual 
text. We can only set down the chief passage and 
afterwards indicate the use made of his principles 
by Roman opponents of Infallibility. 

" And although after His resurrection He assigns 
equal power to all His Apostles, . . . nevertheless, in 
order to make the unity manifest, He established one 
Chair and by His own authority appointed the origin 
of that same unity beginning from one. Certainly the 
rest of the Apostles were that which Peter also was, 
endued with equal partnership, both of honour and 
office, but the beginning sets out from unity, and 
Primacy is given to Peter, that one Church of Christ and 
one Chair may be pointed out ; and all are pastors and 
one flock is shown , to be fed by all the Apostles with one- 
hearted accord, that one Church of Christ may be 
pointed out. . . . He that holds not this unity of the 
Church, does he believe that he holds the faith? He, 
who strives and rebels against the Church, he who 

ii.] ST CYPRIAN 15 

deserts the Chair of Peter on which the Church was 
founded, does he trust that he is in the Church?" 1 

Whether the passages underlined are Cyprian s or 
unauthorised interpolations, is the critical difficulty. 
They appear in the earlier printed editions, not, how 
ever, without editorial misgivings. But the modern 
critical text 2 omits them. Many Roman theologians 
do the same. Leo XIII. himself omits them in his 
Encyclical on the unity of the Church. On the other 
hand, their genuineness is still asserted by certain 
Protestant and Roman writers. In any case all that 
they affirm is a Primacy. No modern Romanist of the 
historical school would quote them as affirming infalli 
bility. Under these circumstances perhaps it will be 
best to confine attention to words whose genuineness no 
one disputes. The Ultramontane emphasised Cyprian s 
statements on the Primacy: the opposing school, his 
statements on Episcopal equality. The former quoted 
" the principal Church, whence sacerdotal unity arose " ; 
the latter " the episcopate is one, it is a whole, in which 
each enjoys full possession " ; and again, " the rest of the 
Apostles were that which Peter was, endowed with equal 
partnership, both of honour and office." 

Minority Bishops asserted in the Vatican Council, on 
the ground of these two passages, that Ecclesiastical 
power was divinely entrusted to Peter and to the other 
Apostles ; and that it was derived from them to their 
successors by Divine institution. Accordingly the 
minority complained that the exclusive consideration 
of Papal authority was irreconcilable with Catholic 
truth and Cyprianic principles. The equal authority 
of the episcopate deserved and required an equal 

1 Cyprian, De Unit. 4. 

2 Text of the Vienna Corpus, ed. Hartel. 


exposition. 1 Cyprian s inference from St Matt. xvi. 18 
was that "the Church should be built upon the Bishops, 
and that every act of the Church should be guided by 
them as presidents." 2 

And this is the principle upon which Cyprian acts. 
After assembling the local Bishops and forming their 
own decision, Cyprian wrote to Stephen, Bishop of 
Rome, in the following terms : 

" These considerations, dear brother, we bring home 
to your conscience out of regard to the office we hold 
in common, and to the simple love we bear you. We 
believe that you, too, from the reality of your religious 
feeling and faith, approve what is religious as well as 
true. Nevertheless, we know there are those who cannot 
readily part with principles once imbibed, or easily 
alter a view of their own, but who, without hurting the 
bond of peace and concord between colleagues, hold to 
special practices once adopted among them, and herein 
we do no violence to any one and impose no law. For, 
in the administration of the Church each several prelate 
has the free discretion of his own will having to account 
to the Lord for his action." 3 

Quoting Cyprian s own words St Augustine repeats 
the passage from a letter : 

"For neither did Peter whom the Lord chose first, 
and on whom He built His Church, when Paul afterwards 
disputed with him about circumcision, claim or assume 
anything and arrogantly to himself, so as to say that 
he held the primacy, and should rather be obeyed by 
newcomers. Nor did he despise Paul because he had 
before been a persecutor of the Church, but he admitted 
the counsel of truth, and readily assented to the 
legitimate grounds which Paul maintained ; giving us 
thereby a pattern of concord and patience, that we should 
not pertinaciously love our own opinions, but should 
1 Friedrich, Doctimenta. 2 Bp. xxxiii. 3 Ep. xlvii. 3. 

a.] ST CYPRIAN 17 

rather account as our own any true and rightful sugges 
tions of our brethren and colleagues for the common 
health and weal." 1 

Upon this Augustine s comment is : 

" Here is a passage in which Cyprian records what 
we also learn in Holy Scripture, that the Apostle Peter, 
in whom the primacy of the Apostles shines with such 
exceeding grace, was corrected by the later Apostle 
Paul, when he adopted a custom in the matter of 
circumcision at variance with the demand of truth. . . . 2 

" Wherefore the holy Cyprian, whose dignity is only 
increased by his humility, who so loves the pattern 
set by Peter as to use the words ; giving us thereby 
a pattern of concord and patience, that we should not 
pertinaciously love our own opinions, but should rather 
account as our own any true and rightful suggestions 
of our brethren and colleagues for the common health 
and weal he, I say, abundantly shows that he was 
most willing to correct his own opinion, if any one should 
prove to him that it is as certain that the baptism of 
Christ can be given by those who have strayed from the 
fold, as that it could not be lost when they strayed. . . . 
Nor should we ourselves venture to assert anything 
of the kind were we not supported by the unanimous 
authority of the whole Church to which he himself 
would unquestionably have yielded, if at that time 
the truth of this question had been placed beyond 
dispute by the investigation and decree of a General 
Council. For if he quotes Peter as an example for his 
allowing himself quietly and peacefully to be corrected 
by one junior colleague, how much more readily would 
he himself, with the Council of his Province, have yielded 
to the authority of the whole world, when the truth 
had been thus brought to light ? For, indeed, so holy 
and peaceful a soul would have been more ready to 
assent to the arguments of any single person who could 

1 Cyprian, Ep. Ixxi. 

2 Augustine, De Baptismo^ II. i. 2. 


prove to him the truth ; and perhaps he even did so, 
though we have no knowledge of the fact." 1 

To Cardinal Bellarmine, Jesuit of the sixteenth 
century, the persistent refusal of Cyprian to accept 
the Pope s teachings appeared very grave indeed. 
Cyprian, says Bellarmine, was not a heretic, because 
those who say that the Pope can err are not even 
yet considered manifestly heretics. But whether 
Cyprian did not commit a mortal sin in disobeying 
the Pope, Bellarmine is not sure. On the one hand, 
Cyprian sinned in ignorance. Thinking the Pope in 
serious error, he was obliged to disobey; for no man 
ought to go against his conscience and a Council of 
eighty Bishops agreed with him. On the other hand, 
he appears to have mortally sinned, for he disobeyed 
an apostolic precept, and refused to submit to the 
judgment of his superior. 

Archbishop Kenrick s dogmatic inference from these 
facts in the Vatican Council was as follows : 

"When Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, held mistaken 
views as to the rebaptism of heretics upon their return 
to the Church, and had strenuously defended them 
against the Roman Pontiff Stephen, Augustine con 
sidered him to be justified : because the matter in 
question had not yet been elucidated by the authority 
of a General Council. Thus Augustine did not regard 
as decisive the Roman Pontiff s opinion which had 
already condemned this error, and by which, according 
to my opponents, the dispute had been already infallibly 
determined. Augustine therefore was ignorant of the 
doctrine of Pontifical Infallibility. Had he acknow 
ledged it, it must have followed that Cyprian was not 
only indefensible for his conduct, but had actually 
incurred condemnation for heresy." 

1 Augustine, De Baptismo, II. iv. p. 5. 


3. From the writings of St Augustine probably no 
phrase has been more often quoted in behalf of papal 
inerrancy than that in which, referring to the Pelagian 
controversy, he says : 

"Already on this matter two Councils have sent to 
the Apostolic See, whence also answers have been 
received. The cause is finished, would that the error 
were also finished." l 

In other words, says a Roman writer, 2 Pope Innocent I. 
has determined the matter. The Pontifical Decree has 
settled that the truth is on Augustine s side. Could 
it do so unless it were infallible? To another writer 
this inference is indisputably clear. 3 

It is, however, more than questionable whether this 
exposition would satisfy Roman critical writers of to 
day. For they do not claim Pope Innocent s reply to 
the African Bishops as an exercise of Infallibility. Thus 
Augustine s criticism is no evidence of his belief in 
Innocent s inerrancy. 

"St Augustine and all his century," says a Bishop 
of the Roman Church, "like the centuries before him, 
placed the supreme authority, the authority which cannot 
fail, not in the Pope alone, but in the Pope and the 
Episcopate." 4 

Nevertheless, the passage was appealed to by the 
Ultramontanes in the Vatican struggle. They assigned 
to St Augustine the statement: "Rome has spoken, 
the cause is finished." This was the form in which 
Augustine s sentiments were commonly quoted for 
centuries. Gratry s criticism upon it represents the 

1 St Aug. Serm. cxxii. Gaume, v. 930 

2 Botalla, i. p. 77. * Perrone, p. 43. 
4 Maret, i. p. 161. 


"Rome has spoken, the cause is finished. It is 
certain that this formula of St Augustine possesses 
something decisive and absolute about it like an axiom. 
It says everything. ( Rome has spoken, the cause is 
finished. Rome has spoken ; all is said, the rest is of 
no consequence. 

" But the objection to this is that St Augustine never 
said that at all." 

Gratry then quotes the passage as it actually occurs. 
To Gratry s mind the real words do not even imply that 
the judgment of Rome by itself is everything ; while the 
misquoted formula does. 1 

4. Constantly appealed to again are the words of St 

" I know that the Roman faith praised by the Apostle s 
voice does not accept suggestion of such a kind. 
Although an angel taught otherwise than that which 
has been once proclaimed, strengthened by the authority 
of St Paul, it could not change." 2 

" Upon this rock I know that the Church is builded. 
I entreat you, authorise me by your letters either to 
assert or not to assert three substances. I shall not 
fear to assert three substances if you order me." 3 

Here, then, St Jerome is found affirming that the 
Roman Church cannot fail, and that he who accepts 
its instruction cannot be misguided. 4 

On the other hand, Bishop Bossuet appeals to 
Jerome s own account of Pope Liberius that he was 
induced to endorse heresy, and that, overcome by the 
weariness of exile, he subscribed to heretical error. 5 

1 Second letter. 2 Ad Rujinum^ ii. 

3 Ep. ad Damasum, ii. p. 131. 4 Perrone, p. 42. 

5 Bossuet, xxii. p. 227. Jerome, De Script. Eccles. and Chronicon. 


The question, therefore, arises whether Jerome would 
not have feared to follow an example which he so 
describes. Can he who so describes Liberius have 
believed that he who accepts papal instruction cannot 
be misguided? 

5. Another example is the striking utterance of Pope 

" This it is against which the Apostolic See is greatly 
on its guard, that the glorious confession of the Apostle, 
since it is the security of the world, should not be defiled 
by the least error or contagion. 1 For if which God 
avert, and we trust cannot happen such a misfortune 
should occur, how could we venture to resist any error, 
or how should we be able to correct the wandering ? " 

Gelasius teaches here, said Bellarmine, that the 
Apostolic See cannot err. For since the security of the 
world depends upon its utterances, if it were to err the 
whole world would be in error with it. 2 

Bossuet, on the other hand, replied as follows : A 
Roman Synod addressed to Bishops the question : How 
could they correct the error of the people if they were 
in error themselves ? This was not an encouragement 
to think themselves infallible, but a warning to take 
precautions against being deceived. Similarly Gelasius 
claims that consciousness of the disastrous results which 
would attend its deception has deepened the cautious 
ness of the Roman See. To infer, however, from the 
character of the results, the impossibility of the occur 
rence is, says Bossuet, the utterly illogical conclusion 
that what ought not will not be. The dangerous 
character of the results which would follow from decep 
tion of the Roman See do not prove the impossibility of 
its occurrence. All they prove is the urgent necessity 

1 Bossuet, xxii, p. 277. z Works^ ii. p. 83. 


for care and deliberation. And this is what Gelasius 
implies. For his language is "which God avert, we 
trust it cannot happen." But this is the language of 
prayer and piety ; it is not the certainty of a truth 
revealed. Gelasius has every hope that, contingently 
on compliance with the necessary conditions, this 
disaster will not be permitted to take place. But we 
may not transpose hope into fact. Tested by history, 
urges Bossuet, individual occupants of the Roman See 
have grievously misled the Church. Liberius and 
Honorius, as far as in them lay, did actually deceive 
the world. Yet the world was not deceived : for other 
remedies exist against calamities such as these. The 
language of Gelasius is one of the most magnificent 
from the Roman See. But it is the language of a 
pious confidence, not a dogma of the immutable faith. 

6. The classic expression of the proper method, accord 
ing to the Ancient Church, for distinguishing Catholic 
Faith from falsehood, is the famous Canon of St Vincent 
of Lerins. We propose to summarise his principles, and 
then to record their controversial use within the Roman 

" Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself all possible 
care must be taken that we hold that faith which has 
been believed everywhere always by all. For that is 
truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the 
name itself and the reason of the thing declare, com 
prehends all universally. 

" This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, 
antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we 
confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church 
throughout the world confesses ; antiquity, if we in no 
wise depart from those interpretations which it is 
manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors 
and fathers ; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity 


itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and 
determinations of all, or at least of almost all priests 
and doctors." 1 

Vincent s famous Canon states the appeal to tradi 
tion in a triple form : in relation to place and time and 
persons. The test of a doctrine s apostolic character 
is its universality in place and time. That which com 
mands a consent virtually coextensive with the Church s 
existence, across the entire world geographically, and 
across the entire Christian ages historically, constitutes 
the Catholic Faith. 

Vincent s application of this test to several instances 
shows alike its clearness and its use. 

i. First Case If the Local oppose the Universal. 

" What, then, will a Catholic Christian do if a small 
portion of the Church have cut itself off from the 
communion of the universal faith ? 

" What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole 
body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt 
member ? " 

ii. Second Case If the Modern oppose the Ancient. 

"What if some novel contagion seek to infect notmerely 
an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole ? 

" Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, 
which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any 
fraud of novelty. 

"To preach any doctrine therefore to Catholic 
Christians other than what they have received never 
was lawful, never is lawful, never will be lawful." 

Thus according to Vincent the Christian obligation 
is to keep that deposit of doctrine which is committed 
to our trust. And this obligation rests in general on 

1 Commonitoriuni) ii. 


the Universal Church, and in particular on the whole 
body of pastors whose duty it is to possess and com 
municate to others a complete knowledge of religion. 
Vincent considers the transmission of the Faith in its 
integrity the function not exclusively of the pastors, 
but also of the entire community of the Universal 
Church. His famous often quoted words must be 
quoted once again, for it would be impossible to express 
his theory in better terms than his own. 

"Keep the Deposit. What is the Deposit? That 
which has been entrusted to thee, not that which thou 
hast thyself devised : a matter not of wit but of learning ; 
not of private adoption but of public tradition ; a matter 
brought to thee, not put forth by thee, wherein thou 
art bound to be not an author but a keeper, not a 
teacher but a disciple, not a leader but a follower. . . . 
Let that which formerly was believed, though im 
perfectly apprehended, as expounded by thee be clearly 
understood. Let posterity welcome, understood through 
thy exposition, what antiquity venerated without under 
standing. Yet teach still the same truths which thou 
hast learned, so that while thou speakest newly, thou 
speakest not what is new." 

Nothing can be stronger than St Vincent s sense 
of the substantial immutability of the Faith. Nor is 
there any finer exposition than his of the principle 
of identity. What is perhaps even more remarkable, 
considering the period when he wrote, is his recognition 
that the principle of immutability requires to be balanced 
by the principle of progress. We have in his pages 
the earliest statement of the principles of theological 
development, drawn with a wonderful insight into its 
nature and limitations. 

"But some one will say, perhaps Shall there then be no 
progress in the Christian Church ? Certainly all possible 
progress. . . Yet on condition that it be real progress, 


not alteration of the Faith. For progress requires that 
the subject be enlarged in itself, alteration that it 
be transformed into something else. The intelligence, 
then, the knowledge, the wisdom, as well of individual 
as of all, as well of one man as of the whole Church, 
ought in the course of ages and centuries, to increase 
and make much and vigorous progress ; but yet only in 
its own kind\ i.e., in the same doctrine, in the same 
sense, and in the same meaning." 

Thus, according to Vincent, there may be all possible 
progress consistent with substantial identity. And the 
method by which the progress of the Church of the 
present day is safeguarded and controlled is perpetual 
reversion to the primitive type ; any substantial 
deviation from which is a sign of variation from the 

The Romanist opponent of Papal Infallibility laid 
the greatest stress on St Vincent s principle, while the 
Ultramontane attempted a distinction between implicit 
and explicit truth. Grant that the Catholic faith must 
be contained in the original deposit of Revelation, must 
its recognition have been explicit from the first ? x The 
Canon of St Vincent was asserted to be true in an 
affirmative sense, but not in a negative. Whatever 
satisfies the test of universality was undoubtedly part of 
the Catholic faith ; but it did not follow that a doctrine 
which failed to fulfil this test was therefore uncatholic. 

This distinction carried no conviction to a very large 
minority in the Roman Church, partly because the 
doctrine in question did not satisfy the test of uni 
versality, even in the nineteenth century, and partly 
because of the doctrine s intrinsic character. They failed 
to see how a doctrine which explicitly affirmed the 
Pope s independence of the Church s consent could be 

1 Franzelin. DC Trad. p. 295. 


a legitimate outcome of, and implicitly contained within, 
the principle of consent, which is the negative of that 
independence. Vincent placed the whole stress on 
universality and consent. The Ultramontane considered 
the Pope s utterance infallible without that universality 
and consent. To the Roman opponents of the Vatican 
view these two theories seemed mutually exclusive. 
They could not reconcile the Vincentian Canon with 
the Vatican claim, nor reject St Vincent s demand that 
progress must retain substantial identity. They re 
membered how Bishop Bossuet, intellectually the head 
of the seventeenth - century Church in France, had 
claimed for the Roman Catholic Church the distinctive 
glory of immutability the quod semper of St Vincent 
as contrasted with the variations of Protestantism. 1 

In the Vatican Council itself the Bishops appealed 
repeatedly to the Canon of St Vincent as a proof that 
the Infallibility doctrine formed no portion of the 
Catholic faith. Bishop Maret had already affirmed in 
the treatise which he sent to all the members of the 
Council that the principles of St Vincent can never 
legitimately issue in a system of absolute Infallibility 
and monarchy of each individual Pope. Bishop Hefele 
said that 

"when differences on matters of faith arose in the 
primitive Church appeal was made to the Apostolic 
Churches, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch ; and that only 
was dogmatically propounded to the faithful, which 
was universally believed. None of the ancients ever 
imagined that an infallible decision of controversies 
could be obtained by any shorter method at the hands 
of any single individual. On the contrary, Vincent 
said, let us follow universality, antiquity, consent." 2 

1 Bossuet, Premier Avertisement aux Protestants. 

2 Friedrich, Documenta, ii. p. 12 1, 


Another Bishop urged that according to the principle 
of St Vincent no definition could be made without 
moral unanimity. We have no proof, said another 
Bishop, least of all from the first five centuries. And 
if nothing can ever be defined except that which has 
been believed always everywhere and by all, by what 
right can we defend the Papal Infallibility ? None but 
the Bishops, said another, can testify whether a doctrine 
is held always everywhere and by all. Consequently, 
he, and others with him, demurred to the opinion 
that a Pope s utterance could be infallible without the 
consent of the episcopate. 

More emphatic still was the statement of the 
American Archbishop Kenrick : 

" The famous writer, Vincent of Lerins, in his golden 
treatise the Commonitorium^ which has been highly 
esteemed for the last fourteen centuries . . . gives the 
rule by which a believer should guide himself when 
conflicting opinions arise among the Bishops : namely, 
that nothing is to be considered of Catholic faith 
which has not been acknowledged always everywhere 
and by all. When the Bishops disagree Vincent affirms 
that antiquity and universality are to be followed. 
He makes no reference to the Roman Pontiff whose 
opinion, according to the Pontifical Party, instantly 
determines all controversies of faith. This theory 
assuredly Vincent never heard of. And his contempor 
aries entirely agreed with him." 

The authors of Janus made an equally strong appeal 
to St Vincent of Lerins. 

" If the view of Roman Infallibility had existed any 
where in the Church at that time, it could not have been 
possibly passed over in a book exclusively concerned 
with the question of the means for ascertaining the 


genuine Christian doctrine. But the author keeps to 
the three notes of universality, permanence, and consent, 
and to the Ecumenical Councils." 1 

7. What was the true relation of the Pope and the 
Council to each other? How was it understood in 
primitive times ? Did the Collective Episcopate regard 
itself as subordinated, with no independent judgment 
of its own, to decisions of the Roman authority ? Or 
was the Council conscious of possessing power to accept 
or refuse the papal utterances brought before it ? 2 
Bossuet maintained that the treatment of Papal Letters 
by the early General Councils afforded convincing 
proof against their belief in any theory of papal 
inerrancy. The famous letter of Leo to Flavian was 
laid before the Council of Chalcedon in the following 
terms : " Let the Bishops say whether the teaching of 
the 318 Fathers [the Council of Nicea] or that of the 
1 50 [Constantinople] agrees with the letter of Leo." Nor 
was Leo s letter accepted until its agreement with the 
standards of the former Ecumenical Councils had been 

The very signatures of the subscribing Bishops bear 
this out "The letter of Leo agrees," says one, "with 
the Creed of the 318 Fathers and of the 150 Fathers, 
and with the decisions at Ephesus under St Cyril. 
Wherefore I assent and willingly subscribe." 3 Thus 
the act of the Episcopate at Chalcedon was one of 
critical investigation and authoritative judgment, not of 
blind submission to an infallible voice. The theologian, 
Bellarmine, and the historian, Baronius, both strong 
advocates of the papal authority, contradict one another 
on this point. Baronius asserts that the Bishops regarded 
the letter of Leo as the rule and guide in faith which 

1 Janus, p. 89 2 Bossuet, Defence, i. p. 80. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 38. 


all churches must accept. Bellarmine, however, per 
plexed by the episcopal investigation which undeniably 
the letter endured, suggested that Leo s letter to the 
Council was not intended as a final definition, but as a 
general advice for the Bishops assistance. 

Bossuet points out that this happy solution is refuted 
by the simple fact that Leo wrote to Flavian before any 
Council was even thought of. 1 It illustrates Bellarmine s 
uncritical ingenuity. And since Baronius acknowledges 
the authoritative character of Leo s letter, and Bellarmine 
the reality of its scrutiny by the Bishops, the obvious 
conclusion is that both the papal authority and the 
consent of the Universal Council are elements in 
producing a dogma of the Faith. Accordingly, the 
Pope s decision, taken by itself apart from the consent 
of the Church, is not infallible. Bossuet claims that 
Leo s own teaching endorses this, for he wrote the 
following words : " The things which God had formerly 
defined by our ministry, He confirmed by the irreversible 
consent of the entire brotherhood." 

To sum up the procedure of the early Church in a 
question of faith : Bishop Flavian first declared what was 
of faith as the local Bishop. Leo at Rome endorsed it 
and gave his definition. After this definition came the 
examination of the question in the General Council, 
and judgment was ultimately given. After the definition 
had been approved by the judgment of the Bishops 
no further room for doubt or dispute remained. 2 

The impression made upon a Roman writer by Roman 
research for proof of Infallibility in the writings of the 
Fathers may be gathered from the following significant 
passage : 

^ " To sum up. The defenders of the dogma of Infalli 
bility discover valuable hints in history. But they also 

1 Bossuet, Defence, i. p. 81. 2 Ibid. ii. p. 41. 


encounter difficulties. After systematising against the 
Gallican School the grounds of their belief, they 
endeavoured to meet the difficulties which required 
to be solved. These difficulties came from many 
sources. They came from Councils which on various 
occasions constituted themselves judges of teaching 
sent from Rome. They came from certain teachers 
who opposed other works to the doctrinal decisions 
of Popes. But they came, above all, from Popes them 
selves who were not always at the level required of 
their mission, and at times allowed themselves to be 
ensnared with error." 1 

Primitive evidence for Papal Infallibility is then 
admitted by some Roman writers to be meagre and 
disappointing. 2 A curious instance of this is found in 
the theologian, Melchior Cano. He says that the quota 
tions given by St Thomas from St Cyril of Alexandria 
afford a much clearer evidence for this doctrine than that 
in any other patristic writer. But when he sought for the 
original passages they were not to be found. "This 
is the work of the heretics," he exclaims indignantly. 
" They have mutilated the writings, and erased everything 
that concerned pontifical authority." So Melchior Cano. 
To-day, however, it is universally acknowledged that 
these passages were interpolations by which St Thomas 
Aquinas was deceived. Thus Melchior Cano s clearest 
evidence is nothing else than a simple forgery. 

1 Turmel, Hist. Thtol. Positive , p. 309. 

2 Melchior Cano, Op. lib. v. cap. v. 


THE case of Pope Honorius naturally occupied the 
attention of Roman Catholics more than any other 
instance of papal pronouncements, because it presented 
peculiar difficulties to the advocates of Infallibility. The 
literature created by this single case within the Roman 
Communion is enormous. We shall but represent its 
actual historical position in the development of the 
subject, if we treat it at considerable and even dispro 
portionate length. For in reality it is no solitary 
incident. It reaches out into the Universal Councils 
of the Church. It shows the early conception of the 
relation between Council and Pope ; what the Collective 
Episcopate thought of the nature of a papal definition 
of faith ; what subsequent Popes thought of a pre 
decessor s pronouncement. 

To understand it we must revert to the conditions of 
Christian thought when the first four General Councils 
were completed. The Incarnation was then interpreted 
to involve two natures united in one Person. But the 
inferences which this statement required were not yet 
clearly thought out. The difficulty of the period was 
to allow full scope to the human nature in Christ. If 
there was one Person in Christ, then there must be 
one will, and that will manifestly divine. Accordingly 
it was supposed that His human nature had no human 


will. The relation of the divine to the human in Christ 
was thought to resemble that of the soul to the body, 
in such a way that the human nature was but a will-less 
passive instrument under the absolute control of the 
will which was divine. 

This is the Monothelite heresy. It is a heresy of a 
disastrous kind, for it virtually denies the reality of 
the Incarnation. If the Son of God took a will-less 
human nature, then He did not take our human nature 
at all. For the will is essential to the perfection of 
our nature. 

Now the Monothelite heresy was widely prevalent in 
the East : the real leader and chief promoter being 
Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople. Acting under his 
influence, Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria, published in 
633 a document asserting the existence of only one will 
in Christ. This was earnestly opposed by Sophronius, 
afterwards Patriarch of Jerusalem, who entreated Cyrus 
to cancel the objectionable statement, and visited Sergius 
with a view to enlist his support. This he naturally 
failed to obtain. But Sergius, with more subtlety than 
frankness, being in fact alarmed at the sensation produced 
by the heresy in Catholic minds, proposed as a com 
promise that both the assertion of one energy in Christ, 
and the counter - assertion of two energies should be 
abandoned. Sophronius consented. Sergius then wrote 
his famous diplomatic letter to Honorius of Rome, 
giving his own version of the controversy, explaining 
that in the interests of peace it was desirable that 
both expressions should be discouraged. To speak of 
"one energy" in Christ seemed strange to many, and 
offended them because it seemed to deny the duality 
of nature in our Lord ; while the expression " two 
energies " offended others, because it would follow that 
there were two contradictory wills in Christ. Sergius 


then explained his theory by the illustration that as 
the body is controlled by the soul, so is the human 
nature in Christ controlled by His Divine Will an 
illustration which certainly ought to have opened 
Honorius s eyes, even if the proposal to abandon the 
orthodox expression, "two energies," did not already 
alarm him. Now this letter of Sergius was condemned 
by the Sixth General Council. But this same letter 
Honorius approved. / 

Honorius replied that he learns from Sergius s letter 
that new controversies have been stirred up by a certain 
Sophronius, a monk, now Bishop of Jerusalem, against 
" our brother, Cyrus of Alexandria, who taught converts 
from heresy the doctrine of one energy in Christ." He is 
glad to hear that this expression, " one energy," has been 
abandoned, because it " might give offence to the simple." 
Honorius, however, asserts for himself " we confess one 
will of our Lord Jesus Christ," and explains that 
there was no diverse or conflicting will in the human 
nature of Christ ; no conflict that is of the flesh against 
the spirit. He says that we may not erect into dogmas 
of the Church the statements that in Christ there is one 
energy or two, since neither the New Testament nor 
the Councils have so taught. He says, further, that he 
desires to reject everything which as a novelty of 
expression might cause uneasiness in the Church. He 
is quite aware that the expression " two energies " might 
be considered Nestorian, and " one energy " Eutychian. 
Accordingly, he " exhorts " Sergius to avoid both expres 
sions and to keep to the already sanctioned phrases. 

This letter of Honorius was utilised in the East to 
justify the Monothelite heresy the existence of one 
will in Christ. Honorius died shortly after its publica 
tion (638). His successor, John IV., defended Honorius s 
orthodoxy on the ground that, since Sergius s enquiry 



was concerned only with our Lord s humanity, the reply 
was similarly restricted to the same. A later successor, 
Martin I., held a Synod at the Lateran in 649, in which 
the two Patriarchs, Cyrus of Alexandria and Sergius of 
Constantinople, were both condemned as Monothelites ; 
and in which, without any allusion to Honorius, it 
was affirmed that the coexistence of two wills in 
Christ was a necessary consequence of the co-existence 
of the two natures, human and divine. In 680 was held 
the Sixth General Council with a view to reconcile and 
reunite the East with the West. To this Council Pope 
Agatho sent a letter reaffirming the orthodox doctrine of 
two natural wills and operations, and declaring that 
his Church had, by the grace of God, never erred from 
the Apostolic Tradition nor submitted to heretical 
innovations. This letter the Council received and 
adopted ; and proceeded to condemn as heretical the 
writings of his predecessor, Honorius, upon whom they 
gave judgment as well as upon the two Patriarchs 
of Alexandria and Constantinople. After reading the 
letter of Sergius to Pope Honorius and that of 
Honorius to Sergius, the Council pronounced judgment 
in the following terms : 

" We find that these documents are quite foreign to the 
Apostolic dogmas, also to the declarations of the holy 
Councils, and all the Fathers of repute; therefore we 
entirely reject them, and execrate them as hurtful to 
the soul. But the names of these men must also be 
thrust forth from the Church, namely, that of Sergius, 
who first wrote on this impious doctrine ; further, that 
of Cyrus of Alexandria, etc. . . . We anathematise them 
all. And along with them, it is our unanimous decree that 
there shall be expelled from the Church and anathema 
tised Honorius, formerly Pope of Old Rome, because we 
found in his letter to Sergius that in all respects he 
followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines." 


This conclusion was followed up by burning the 
heretical letters, including that of Pope Honorius. It 
is significant that when the Council were about to 
proceed to pronounce the Anathemas, George, Patriarch 
of Constantinople, was anxious to secure the omission 
of his predecessors name, but the majority overruled 
him. So the sentence was uttered, " Anathema to the 
heretic Sergius, to the heretic Cyrus, to the heretic 

The announcement of these decisions was made not 
to Pope Agatho, for he had died ; but to his successor, 
Leo II. Leo accepted the decisions of Constantinople. 
He has carefully examined the Acts of the Council 
and found them in harmony with the declarations of 
faith of his predecessor, Agatho, and of the Synod 
of the Lateran. He anathematised all these heretics, 
including his predecessor, Honorius, " who so far 
from aiding the Apostolic See with the doctrine of the 
Apostolic Tradition, attempted to subvert the faith by 
a profane betrayal." 

This condemnation of Honorius was reiterated by 
two more Ecumenical Councils. It recurs in the papal 
Profession of Faith uttered by each Pope on his accession 
down to the eleventh century. This formula is contained 
in the Liber Diurnus, a volume which has had a 
remarkable history. The Liber Diurnus is a collection 
of ancient documents relating to the Papal Office, forms 
of faith, and other formulas, which were in use in the 
Roman Church probably from the sixth to the eleventh 
centuries. The collection was made in Rome itself. 
At what precise date the formulas therein contained 
ceased to be in use the learned appear unable to 

The Liber Diurnus disappeared from sight and almost 
from memory. Its very existence seemed uncertain. 


In the middle of the seventeenth century Holstein, 
afterwards librarian of the Vatican, found the MS. at 
Rome. 1 Another MS. was found in the Jesuit College 
of Clermont in Paris. Holstein prepared an edition 
for the press. It should have seen the light in i65O. 2 
Nothing was wanting but approval of the censors. 
The approval was, however, refused, and the copies were 
consigned to imprisonment in the Vatican. The reason 
for this suppression is given by the liturgical writer, 
Cardinal Bona: 3 

" Since in the Profession of Faith by the Pope elect, 
P. Honorius is condemned as having given encourage 
ment to the depraved assertions of heretics if these 
words actually occur in the original and there is no 
obvious means of remedying such a wound it is 
better that the work should not be published prcestat 
non divulgari opus 4 

Such was Cardinal Bona s opinion and advice. 

Another learned writer, P. Sirmond, in a letter to 
Holstein, expressed himself with still more remarkable 
frankness : 

" It appears to me not so astonishing," said Sirmond, 
" that the Greek Monothelites should attempt to identify 
Honorius with their error, as it seems extraordinary 
that the Romans themselves, in the newly elected Pope s 
Profession of Faith, should have branded the name of 
Honorius together with the authors of heretical ideas, 
such as Sergius, etc., for having given encouragement 
to the depraved assertions of heretics. And yet such 
are the terms of that Profession of Faith, as I found it 
among the ancient formulas of the Roman Church. 
And this is the only reason which deterred me from 

1 Rostere, xxxix. 2 Ibid, xviii. 

8 Ibid, cxiii. 4 Ibid, cxiii. 


producing an edition of it, notwithstanding my promise 
to Cardinal S." 1 

The suppression of Holstein s edition created a 
sensation among the learned men of France. "The 
Liber Diurnus" wrote Launoy, "has been printed in 
Rome several years, and is detained by the masters 
of the Papal Court and the Inquisitors. These men 
\cannot bear the light of ancient truth." 2 However, in 
the year 1680, the Jesuit writer, Gamier, published an 
edition of the work. Whatever his motive may have 
been and it is still disputed, he was summoned to 
Rome to give an explanation, and died on the way. 3 
However, the mischief was out, and from that time 
authorised publication became easy. The great scholar, 
Mabillon, printed the work without let or hindrance, and 
the comparative indifference of the world exemplified 

the maxim that an institution which has survived a 

fact will also survive its publication. 

Such, then, appear to be the historic facts, stated as 
objectively as we can state them. 

We now proceed to give the various Roman explana 
tions. " It is," says Hefele, 4 the learned historian of the 
Councils, " in the highest degree startling, even scarcely 
credible, that an Ecumenical Council should punish 
with anathemas a Pope as a heretic." Certainly from 
an Ultramontane standpoint it must be so. And this 
perplexity has led to a curious and instructive variety 
of conflicting solutions from the days of Cardinal 
Bellarmine down to the present time. 

I. First explanation : It was boldly asserted in the 
seventeenth century that Pope Honorius was not con 
demned at all. The historian, Baronius, made himself 

1 Rosiere, cxiv. 2 Ibid. xlix. Ivii. 3 Ibid. Ix. Ixi. 

4 History of the Councils, i. p. 181. (Engl. trans.). 


responsible for this view, and Bellarmine followed him. 
No doubt the documents as we possess them affirm the 
contrary ; but then they must have been interpolated 
and falsified. The reasons given for this procedure are 
that the Council of the Lateran over which Pope Martin 
presided condemned the Monothelites, but did not 
mention Honorius. Also that the Ecumenical Council 
of Constantinople could not possibly have condemned 
Honorius as a heretic; for that would make them 
contradict Pope Agatho s letter, to the effect that the 
Apostolic Church had never strayed from the path of the 
Apostolic Tradition, nor yielded to the perversions of 
heretical novelties. Either, therefore, the Council s words 
are falsified, or the letter of Agatho is falsified, or the 
Council and Agatho disagree. But no one asserts this 
last, and no one has ever suggested the second, there 
fore the first alternative is the one to be maintained. 
Bellarmine shows grounds to mistrust those fraudulent 
Greeks. He gives numerous instances of forgery. 
Baronius conjectures that a heretical Bishop, finding 
his own name in the Council s list of the condemned, 
quietly erased it and substituted that of Pope Honorius. 

Bossuet 1 thinks the mere recital of these conjectures 
sufficient refutation, and deplores that so learned a man 
should be dishonoured by these fictions. Sceptical 
criticism so utterly unfounded would, if universally 
applied, destroy the foundation of all historic certainty. 

A recent Roman writer (1906) says that the theory of 
Bellarmine and Baronius offers valuable advantage, that 
is to the Ultramontane, but is attended by enormous 
difficulties. 2 For, if the fraudulent Greeks interpolated 
the Acts of the Council, who interpolated the letter of 
Leo II. in which he accepts its conclusion and condemns 

1 Works, V. xvii. p. 67. 

8 Turmel, Hist. Thtol. Positive, p. 315. 


Honorius by name ? Accordingly the solution dear to 
Bellarmine and Baronius has been abandoned by the 
strongest advocates of Papal Infallibility. 

2. A second explanation admitted that Honorius was 
condemned, but asserted that he was only condemned in 
his private capacity, as an individual theologian, and not 
as Pope. 

One obvious advantage of this theory was that at any 
rate it did no violence to historic documents. It 
encouraged no universal scepticism as to sources. 
Bellarmine himself suggested it as an alternative to 
those who could not be satisfied with discrediting whole 
sale on suspicion the long series of documents. But 
Bellarmine did not like the theory ; for he held that 
although the opinion that a Pope can err as a private 
teacher is probable, yet the opposite opinion was more 
probable still. However, for those whom it might assist, 
there it was. All that the Council meant to say was 
that Honorius by his private letters promoted heresy. 

Private letters ! echoes Bossuet 1 scornfully. When, 
then, is a decision given, ex cathedra, unless when 
the successor of St Peter, being consulted by the entire 
East, should suppress a deadly error and strengthen his 
brethren ? Or did he prefer to be deceived, when, being 
so interrogated, he did not reply under these conditions 
in which he knew that he could not be deceived ? 

A recent Roman writer 2 assures us that the opinion 
that the letter of Honorius was compiled as a private 
theologian has never been enthusiastically received, 
never achieved a real success. Its partisans have been 
few in number and authority. 

"To allow that a Pope had been solemnly charged 
with heresy even as a private doctor was too much for 

1 Bossuet, t. xxi. p. 76. 2 Tunnel, Hist. Thtol. Positiv*, p. 76. 


the infallibilists. On the other hand, the Gallicans 
could not forget Bossuet s retort. When can a Pope 
have cause to speak ex cathedra if not when consulted 
by the entire East ? " l 

3. A third explanation of the case of Honorius is 
that he was condemned for heresy, but mistakenly ; 
the Council being in error on a question of fact. 
Bellarmine proposes this as an alternative solution to 
those who cannot be induced to believe that the Decrees 
of the Sixth General Council have been interpolated 
and corrupted. It may be said that Honorius was 
actually condemned by the Council as a heretic, but 
that they acted on false information. If infallible in 
doctrine, they were not infallible in questions of fact. 
If the reader objects, and interposes an enquiry whether 
Bellarmine understands Honorius s letter better than 
an Ecumenical Council understood him, the ready reply 
is that Pope Agatho said that his See had never 
strayed. Pope Agatho understood the letter of Honorius 
better than the Greeks assembled in the Council. If 
you ask why, then, didn t the legates of Agatho resist 
the condemnation, Bellarmine answers that this was 
diplomatic. They acquiesced to avert a greater evil ; 
namely, continuance of false doctrine. Thus, according 
to Bellarmine, to secure the condemnation of the Mono- 
thelite heresy, the legates sanctioned the condemnation 
of a Pope for heresy apparently on the principle of 
two evils prefer the less with consequences, however, 
which Bellarmine does not seem to have thought out. 
If the reader still persists, in his incredulous temper, to 
ask, Why, then, did Pope Leo in his letter after the 
Council also condemn Honorius? it is suggested that 

1 Turme), Hist. Thtol. Positive, p. 317. 


you can say that Leo followed the legates of Agatho ; 
he preferred to let sleeping dogs lie. But we are not 
bound, says Bellarmine, to follow Leo. We may follow 
Agatho. For you see that whether Honorius erred 
is, after all, a question of fact : and in questions of 
fact even Popes may differ. 

This theory appeared congenial to some in the 
sixteenth century. But then it received an unexpected 
application, being utilised by the Jansenists to justify 
their treatment of papal decisions with respectful 
incredulity. Whether certain doctrines were or were 
not contained within the pages of Jansenius s great book 
was not a question of faith but of fact. Consequently 
it was enough to adopt towards any papal assertions 
on the subject an attitude of external deference while 
maintaining unchanged one s inward convictions. 

This application opened the eyes of papal theologians 
to the dangerous character of the theory. It became, 
says Turmel, 1 almost invariably abandoned among 
defenders of Papal Infallibility. 

But, after all. was the Universal Council mistaken 
in the intepretation it placed upon the theological 
contents of Honorius s letter? Upon this question 
Roman writers have been sharply divided. This was 
the defence set up for him by his immediate successor, 
but obviously not accepted by the long line of his 
successors who condemned him ; nor by the Ecumenical 
Council which pronounced its judgment upon him ; 
nor by the two other Ecumenical Councils which 

Honorius s successor, Agatho, indeed asserted that 
his See had never deflected from the way of truth, and 
that the Roman Pontiffs had obeyed the injunction laid 
upon Peter to strengthen his brethren. This language 

1 Turmel, Hist. Thtol. Positive, p. 32. 


was accepted by the Fathers of the Sixth Council. 
But what they understood by it, said Bossuet, can 
be readily gathered from the following single fact : 
they approved the teaching of Agatho, but they 
condemned the teaching of Honorius. Manifestly they 
did not endorse the theory that no Roman Pontiff 
had ever deflected from the faith, or that his decisions 
deserved the unquestioning submission of Christendom. 
All that the Council could have assented to was that 
as a general fact the truth was held in Rome ; without 
pronouncing any opinion as to the invariable fidelity 
of individual Popes. If Agatho meant more than 
this, he was, said Bossuet, mistaken in a question of 
fact. His statement must be set beside that of Leo II., 
who affirmed that Honorius, "instead of suppressing 
the flame of heretical views by his apostolic authority, 
encouraged it by his neglect." 

The immediate successors of Honorius passed over 
his error and spared his memory. This was natural. 
For his pontificate was exemplary in other respects ; 
he died in the peace of the Church ; he had not acted 
with evil intentions ; nor was he pertinacious in defence 
of his error ; nor did anything in the condition of the 
Western Church require a public refutation of his error. 
But in the East it was otherwise. The Monothelites 
publicly supported themselves under his authority. 
Accordingly, the Sixth Council felt compelled to con 
demn Honorius also, as having in all things followed the 
lines of Sergius and promoted his dangerous teaching. 
Thus the Council s reply to Agatho s letter on the 
invariability of his See was an announcement that 
they had condemned his predecessor. 

Bellarmine boldly asserts that in any case Honorius s 
letters contain no heresy. He only forbade the use of 
the terms, <4 one will," or " two wills " in Christ, a course 


which, according to the same writer, only shows his 
prudence. The critical words, "Wherefore we confess 
one will in our Lord Jesus Christ," are, as his explana 
tion shows, a reference exclusively to Christ s human 
nature. What he meant was that in Christ as man 
there were not two conflicting wills of the flesh and 
the spirit. 

Bossuet replied that probably Honorius was not 
heretical in his private convictions. But he very badly 
instructed the Patriarchs who consulted him ; and he 
secured peace at the price of silence as to the Orthodox 
Faith. He spoke disparagingly of the teaching of 
Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, who maintained 
the Catholic Truth upon the subject, and favourably 
of Cyrus of Alexandria, who propagated the false 
doctrine. His language suggests heretical explana 
tion. It was most unsuited to the special occasion 
and the requirements of the Church. It failed to 
give any definite guidance on the doctrine in question ; 
and, by its vague and general terms, promoted the 
very error which ought to have been suppressed. 

Perhaps the ablest Roman criticism on the contents 
of Honorius s letter is that of the historian Hefele. It 
should be read in the form in which he published it 
prior to the alterations which the Vatican Council 
forced upon his historical expositions. " Honorius," 
says Hefele, 1 " did not grasp the matter aright at the 
very beginning." He argued briefly but inappropriately 
that where there is one Person there is only one Worker 
and therefore only one Will. He said that in our 
ordinary corrupted nature there are certainly two 
wills, that of the flesh and that of the spirit, but that 
the former is only a consequence of the Fall, and 
therefore could not exist in Christ. " So far Honorius 

1 History of the Councils, p. 32. 


was quite on the right way ; but he did not accurately 
draw the inferences." He ought now to have said: 
Hence it follows that in Christ, since He is God and 
man, there exists, together with His Divine Will, only 
the incorrupt human will. But Honorius kept the 
human will entirely out of account. He thought that 
to maintain the co-existence of two distinct wills in 
Christ would compel the admission of two contradictory 
wills. He ought to have answered Sergius, You are 
quite right in saying we must not ascribe two contrary 
wills to Christ ; but, nevertheless, there are in Christ 
two wills, the divine and the incorrupt human. 1 Instead 
of which Honorius asserted : " We confess one will of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." Hefele, even after the Vatican 
decision, felt constrained to describe this statement as 
"the unhappy sentence which, literally taken, is quite 
Monothelite." 2 

Hefele also was unable to accept the excuse for this 
language, proposed by Honorius s immediate successor, 
to the effect that, being consulted only on the man 
hood of Christ, there was no occasion to speak of 
anything else than the human will. This interpretation 
Hefele characterises as suavior quam verier. For it 
is simply untrue that he was consulted only on the 
contents of Christ s human will. Sergius did not ask 
whether we ought to acknowledge in Christ a will 
of the flesh and a will of the spirit. He asked nothing 
at all on this subject, but asserted that in Christ there 
can be only one will. Hefele s conclusion accordingly 
was that Honorius encouraged heresy by enjoining 
silence on the orthodox expression, " two energies," and 
still more by the unhappy expression, " We confess one 
will in our Lord Jesus Christ." 3 

But even then, Hefele is constrained by his historic 

1 History of the Councils, p. 36. 2 Ibid. p. 54. 3 Ibid. p. 58. 


insight to recognise that the Sixth Ecumenical Council 
thought much more seriously of Honorius s errors than 
Hefele himself does; especially as controlled by the 
Vatican Council. After recalling the association of 
Honorius with Sergius and others, and the exact 
language of the condemnation, Hefele says : 

"From all this it cannot be doubtful in what sense 
Pope Honorius was anathematised by the Sixth Ecu 
menical Council, and it is equally beyond doubt that 
the Council judged much more severely respecting 
him than we have done." l 

Into the significance of this difference of judgment 
Hefele does not enter. But apart from all enquiry 
whether the estimate of an Ecumenical Council outweighs 
that of an individual theologian, apart from the question 
of the accuracy of their decision, there lie the theological 
principles which this severity of judgment on a papal 
utterance involved. Such condemnation obviously 
assumes a certain conception of the value and authority 
of papal decisions. Hefele said that " It is in the 
highest degree startling, even scarcely credible, that an 
Ecumenical Council should punish with anathema a 
Pope as a heretic." And on Ultramontane presupposi 
tions so it is. Does not this, together with the evident 
difficulty which a modern Romanist experiences in 
bringing himself to accept this Ecumenical decision, 
betray a singular deviation from the principles of an 
earlier age ? That which seems to-day " in the highest 
degree startling, even scarcely credible," did it appear 
in that light to the age in which it was decreed ? Did 
the startled representatives of the Apostles shrink away 
in silent amazement at their own audacity, abashed 

1 History of tht Councils, p. 184. 


before the horror of the Catholic world? Or did not 
the Pope of the period assent to their decrees as being 
in no way conflicting with Catholic principles? 

4. A fourth explanation of the fact has been proposed. 
It is acknowledged that Honorius was condemned, but 
asserted that he was not charged with heresy, but 
only with imprudence. 

This was the theory of Father Gamier, the Jesuit, 
editor of the Liber Diurnus. An admirable summary 
of his opinions is given by Turmel in his Histoire de 
la Thtologie Positive)- 

Gamier read the Council s sentence that Honorius 
"followed the false doctrines of the heretics." This 
means, says Gamier, that he failed in courage to oppose 
them. If Honorius was declared excommunicated and 
anathematised, this only meant that he had made himself 
congenial to heretics by imposing silence on certain 
expressions, not that he had sanctioned heretical ideas. 
If the Council ordered his letters to be burnt, as tending 
to the same impiety as those of Sergius, this did not 
mean that they were necessarily heretical. A writing 
may tend to impiety by its omissions just as much 
as by its positive assertions. Gamier then faced the 
great difficulty that the Council proclaimed Anathema 
to Sergius and to Honorius. . . . Anathema to all 
heretics. Anathema to all who have taught or teach 
one will and one energy in our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Surely, this time, Honorius is included among the 
heretics. Gamier is quite equal to the occasion. 
Granted that the Pope was anathematised simul 
taneously with the Monothelite, yet it does not follow 
that the motive of his condemnation was the same. 
Garnier, therefore, says Turmel, closed the Acts of the 
Sixth Ecumenical Council with the conviction that 

1 Page 317. 


Honorius was nowhere condemned for heresy, but 
simply for his imprudence. 

The theory of Gamier, says Turmel, has met with 
an approval in the theological world, which has only 
increased with the passage of time. It became the 
favourite defence of Honorius down to the eve of 
the Council of the Vatican. 



FROM the case of Honorius we may pass clean away 
to the Scholastic period, when the great systematic 
theologians were gathering into consolidated form the 
developments of the Middle Ages. Six hundred years 
have elapsed since Honorius was condemned by the 
Episcopate. The relation of Papal to Episcopal power 
has greatly changed. To contrast the theology of the 
thirteenth century with that of the seventh is to realise 
a different atmosphere. Many elements contributed 
to the enormous increase of papal influence. The 
Mohammedan conquests and the isolation of the 
Apostolic Churches of the East left the Roman spirit 
to develop its governmental tendencies, unbalanced, 
unchecked by those more primitive conceptions which 
it was the mission of the unchanging East to retain. 
The calamitous severance between the East and West 
must have had disastrous influence on the proportionate 
development of Papal and Episcopal power. 

The growth also of the temporal power of the Roman 
See falls within this period. It is neither our purpose 
nor permitted by our limits to dwell much on this aspect 
of papal claims. Yet a reference to the subject is 
necessary, because the growth of temporal power con 
tributed to the general influences of the Papacy on 
the mediaeval mind, and to no inconsiderable con- 


fusion between the secular and spiritual spheres. The 
learned work of Gosselin, 1 Superior of the Seminary 
of St Sulpice in 1850, on the power of the Pope in 
the Middle Ages, shows how naturally the temporal 
authority grew out of the circumstances of the period. 
The temporal sovereignty of the Roman See arose 
simply out of the necessities of the Roman People, 
who, being abandoned by the Empire, intrusted their 
temporal interests to the papal guardianship. Neither 
Charlemagne nor Pepin were the founders of the 
temporal sovereignty ; they were but its protectors and 
promoters. It was founded in the legitimate consent 
of a helpless and forsaken people. But, being once 
founded, loftier reasons were gradually created to justify 
and explain it. Archbishop Fenelon s opinion, which 
Gosselin quotes and accepts, was that the deposition of 
princes by the Pope in the Middle Ages was based in the 
belief that none but Catholics could rule over Catholic 
nations. Consequently, a contract between Prince and 
People was implied : their loyalty depending on his 
fidelity to Religion. Therefore the Church neither made 
temporal rulers nor unmade them ; but when consulted 
by the people, the Pope decided cases of conscience 
arising from a contract and an oath of fidelity. But 
this power to determine when consulted, easily slid 
into an assertion and a claim of a loftier character. 
The double effect of excommunication on the religious 
and the temporal status of the victim naturally 
led to endless confusion : it exalted the possessor 
of this two-fold power to a height which earlier 
ages would have considered simply amazing. It 
was a principle universally admitted in the time of 
Gregory VII. that excommunication entailed the loss 
of all civil rights. Consequently, says Fleury, when 

1 Translated by Kelly of Maynooth, 2 vs., 1853. 



Gregory VII., adopting novel maxims, and carrying 
them to greater lengths, openly asserted that, as Pope, 
he had the right to depose all sovereigns who were 
rebellious to the Church, and grounded these pretensions 
on the power of excommunication, his opponents had 
no defence to make. Conceding the principle that 
excommunication involves temporal results, Gregory 
was invincible. But the consequence was a vast 
extension of the papal authority. 

And of course this vastly extended authority affected 
the weight of every papal claim. Gosselin s study of 
the temporal power of the Papacy is exceedingly 
interesting as an illustration of development. It shows 
how easily developments may be defended on theological 
theories with which those developments had really 
nothing whatever to do. Its shows how little we can 
trust ultimate developments merely on the ground of 
their existence ; as if prevalence and legitimacy were 
invariably one and the same. It shows the insecurity 
of assuming that the theories by which developments 
are supported are necessarily the causes by which they 
were produced. 

The Episcopate still retained in the year 1300 its 
dignity, as the ultimate court of appeal when in Council 
assembled ; but the Papacy had made gigantic strides 
from the conditions of its tenure in the Cyprianic age. 
The Vincentian test of Catholic doctrine by identity with 
the past was being exchanged for submission to a living 
authority in Rome. The ancient appeal to the Universal 
Church was being exchanged for a theory which 
identified the Roman Communion with the Catholic 
Church. A strong and dangerous tendency had arisen 
to substitute a priori conceptions of the appropriate 
for appeal to ancient facts. Speculative theories of 
ecclesiastical principle were being made a substitute, 


in Scripture reading, for real interpretation. Theories 
were read into apostolic utterances from which they 
could by no critical ingenuity be derived. 

The greatest theologian of the Roman Church, St 
Thomas Aquinas, is an embodiment of mediaeval 
theories of papal claims. He died in 1274. The treatise, 
De Regimine Principum^ whether his or not, was univers 
ally ascribed to him in former days, and possessed for 
many centuries the weight of his name and authority. 
It represents, at any rate, the prevailing mediaeval 
view. By an obvious misuse of the metaphor that the 
Pope is the Head of the Church, it draws the inference 
that from the Head all understanding descends to the 
Body. In the Pope is the plenitude or fulness of all 
grace ; for he alone confers plenary indulgence on all 
sinners, so that the words originally applied to Christ 
are also applicable to him : " of his fulness have all 
we received." Certainly those who accepted habitually 
this view were being prepared for the conclusion that 
the Church was the passive recipient of the Pope s 
infallible utterances. 

And yet it by no means follows that St Thomas 
Aquinas drew the infallibilist inferences, still less that 
he taught the Vatican doctrine. It is acknowledged 
by a recent Roman theologian 1 that while the theology 
of the Middle Ages on the primacy attained in him 
its climax, yet he has not developed the doctrine 
systematically. In point of fact, from an infallibilist 
standpoint, he still leaves much to be desired. He 
taught that "we must not believe that the governor 
of the Universal Church should wish to deceive any 
body, specially in those matters which the whole Church 
receives and approves." 2 And he argued from this in 

1 Schwane, Hist, Dogin. v. p. 321. 

2 In Senftnfiis, 4 Disc. 20, a, 17. 


behalf of the validity of indulgences which the Pope 
preached and caused to be preached. But this passage 
of Aquinas obviously admits of more than one con 
struction. It is general and vague. It does not 
necessarily ascribe to the Pope any Infallibility at all. 
It affirms that it would be wrong to credit the Pope 
with a desire to deceive. It infers that indulgences 
possess validity because the Pope proclaims them, but 
also because it is a matter which the whole Church 
receives and approves. The infallibilist writer Schwane l 
urges that we must not infer from the phrase " which 
the whole Church receives " that the Pope s Infallibility 
depends on the Church s consent. But it seems 
perfectly clear that to St Thomas s mind the reception 
and approval by the whole Church of the doctrine in 
question was precisely that which gave stability to 
the papal utterance about it. He does not write 
as if the Church s consent was a necessary sequel to 
a papal decree. In point of fact, if this were so, any 
reference to the Church s consent might seem super 
fluous, since it could add nothing to the validity of 
the Pope s instructions. But in Aquinas s argument for 
indulgences the elements are two : the Church s recep 
tion and approval of the doctrine, and the papal 
utterance. And these are mutually supporting. 
Elsewhere Aquinas says : 

"If any one rejected a decision after it had been 
made by the authority of Universal Church, he would 
be considered a heretic. And that authority chiefly 
[principaliter] resides in the Supreme Pontiff." 2 

But the exact force of his language is among his 
interpreters a matter of dispute. 

Bossuet held that the language of St Thomas on 

1 Hist. Dogm. v. p. 321. z Summa, 2, 2, Q. II, a, 2, ad. 3. 


Papal Infallibility is capable of a construction not 
widely different from that of the School of Paris. 1 At 
any rate the idea of an Infallibility completely indepen 
dent of any endorsement by the consent of the Church 
is foreign to his mind. If, however, in spite of this 
the Ultramontane claims him still, then appeal must 
be made from St Thomas to the Fathers of an earlier 
period. 2 

The value of St Thomas s theological inferences on the 
subject has been challenged within the Roman Church 
on the ground that he relied upon falsified authorities. 
Pope Urban IV., intending to assist Aquinas s studies, 
sent him a collection of assorted extracts from the 
Fathers, calculated to refute the errors of the Gentile 
world. Aquinas utilised this collection, confessedly, 
says Schwane, 5 without much critical endeavour to 
sift the true character of the extracts. The impor 
tance of the passages may be gathered from the fact 
already mentioned that the theologian Melchior Cano, 
contemporary of the Council of Trent, considered them 
to be the strongest evidence from the early Church in 
behalf of Infallibility. Now it is admitted that this 
collection of extracts is not genuine. " It appears," says 
Schwane, himself an Ultramontane, " that the compiler 
permitted himself to add here and there explanations." 
Other passages he " developed." Schwane contends 
that he has not absolutely falsified any; but admits 
that he ascribed to St Cyril words which cannot be 
found in the writings preserved to us. Schwane suggests 
that, possibly, for all that, they might be genuine. 
Turmel is much less sanguine about this possibility. 
That Aquinas utilised his authorities in all sincerity 
is indisputable. It is also indisputable that he was 

1 Bausset, Hist, de Bossuet, ii. p. 399. 

2 Bossuet, xxi, p, 494. 3 Hist, Dogm. v. p. 333. 


deceived. This was urged very forcibly by Janus and 
Gratry before the Vatican Decisions. 

Some maintained that he would have arrived in any 
case at the same conclusion. Others said that inferences 
from falsified premises mistaken for the faith of saints 
awaken serious doubt as to their validity. It was 
also urged, and probably with truth, that these extracts 
were not the basis of his doctrine on the primacy. 
Still it was felt that they contributed to advance 
ideas. It is an unwholesome pedigree, especially when 
a Roman theologian calls these forged authorities the 
strongest passages in the patristic evidences. 



THE development of theories of papal power may 
next be traced in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 
Pursuing the method adopted hitherto, we will endeavour 
to describe the facts as objectively as possible, and then 
to relate the criticisms to which they have given rise 
within the Roman obedience. 

i. With the fourteenth century (1305) the Popes 
transferred their residence from Rome to Avignon. 
There they continued for seventy years. It was to 
the papal prestige a period of unmixed calamity. The 
authority of the Church was subordinated to France. 
Rome made numerous overtures to secure the Popes 
return. Europe at large was jealous of the French 
preponderating influence ; and France was naturally 
reluctant to lose its ascendancy. 

But the " Babylonish Captivity of the Papacy," with 
its inevitable effect on theories of papal power, was to 
be followed by a worse disaster : the Great Schism of 
forty years (1378-1417). On the death of Gregory XI. 
in 1378 the Cardinals had before them a great alter 
native : either to elect an Italian and so secure residence 
in Rome, or to elect a Frenchman and so continue 
the residence at Avignon. The Conclave met in Rome, 
and was furiously beset by magistrates and people, 
demanding a Roman or at least an Italian Pope. 



External pressure resulted in a hurried election and 
the production of Urban VI. The Cardinals declared 
him canonically elected and treated him for some months 
as actual Pope. Then, under pretext that they had 
acted under compulsion, partly, it is said, disgusted by 
the new Pope s brutality, many Cardinals fled from 
Rome, declared their election void, and appointed 
Robert of Geneva Pope, as Clement VII. Men have 
enquired, men still enquire, how should this double 
election be esteemed? Which was the genuine Pope? 
Was the election of Urban canonical? Was it 
the result of intimidation? If the latter, does the 
subsequent acknowledgment by the Cardinals cancel 
irregularities ? Or was Clement the real Pope ? l This 
is one of the problems of history. 

The historian Pastor sides with Urban VI. 2 The 
pretext that he was elected under compulsion will not 
hold for a moment ; for all the Cardinals took part 
in his coronation, and assisted afterwards in his 
ecclesiastical functions. They gave him homage as 
Pope and proclaimed him to the world. Catherine of 
Sienna told them plainly, " If what you say were as 
true as it is false, must you not have lied when you pro 
claimed him lawful Pope ? " 3 In any case Christendom 
was now divided into two obediences. This lasted for 
forty years. The most learned canonists differed on 
the question which of the two was the Vicar of Christ. 
Distinguished teachers and saintly people were found 
on either side, in equally good faith ; and a Roman 
writer declares himself unable to characterise either 
with the title of Antipope. 4 Nations were divided, 
so were cities and universities, into Urbanists and 

1 Christophe, Histoire de /a Papautt, pendant le XIV. Siecle, iii. p. 36. 

2 Pastor, i. p. 119. 3 Ibid. i. p. 131. 

4 Christophe, Histoire de la Papaute, pendant le XIV. Sihie, iii. p. 37. 


Clementines. Urban and Clement both died, but each 
received successors. It looked as if Christendom might 
witness a double headship becoming part of the 
permanent constitution of the Church. It was the 
glory of France, and, in particular, of the famous 
University of Paris, then at the height of its power, 
to intervene and take steps in behalf of unity. It 
was now A.D. 1400. The Avignon line was now 
represented by Peter de Luna, entitled Benedict XIII. ; 
the Italian line by Angelo Corario, entitled Gregory XII- 
Christendom was scandalised by their mutual ex 

The state of the Church was deplorable. Gregory 
asserted that as Pope he was above law ; Benedict that 
no appeal from a Pope was permissible. 1 This, says 
Bossuet, was the first time in Christendom that a Pope 
ventured expressly to condemn all appeals from his 
authority. 2 A recent historian of the Papacy says : 

" The amount of evil wrought by the Schism of 1 378, 
the longest known in the history of the Papacy, can only 
be estimated when we reflect that it occurred at a 
moment when thorough reform in ecclesiastical affairs 
was a most urgent need. This was now utterly out of 
the question ; and indeed all evils which had crept into 
ecclesiastical life were infinitely increased. Respect for 
the Holy See was also greatly impaired, and the Popes 
became more than ever dependent on the temporal 
power, for the Schism allowed each Prince to choose 
which Pope he would acknowledge. In the eyes of the 
people the simple fact of a double Papacy must have 
shaken the authority of the Holy See to its very founda 
tions. It may truly be said that these fifty years of 
Schism prepared the way for the great Apostasy of the 
sixteenth century." 8 

Through all this crisis, the Sorbonne, the theological 

1 Bossuet, Defense^ i, p. 567. 2 Jbid. ii. p. 325. 3 Pastor, i. p. 142. 


faculty of the University of Paris, was the strenuous 
advocate of the doctrine that the supreme authority in 
Christendom was the Council, not the Pope. They 
declared that things were come to such a pass, through 
the Schism, that on all sides men did not hesitate 
publicly to affirm that it was purely indifferent whether 
there were two Popes or twelve. Gerson, the celebrated 
Chancellor of the University of Paris, reassured men by 
asserting that the ultimate authority in Christendom 
was the entire Church and not the Pope. This teaching 
implies a denial of Papal Infallibility : and with this 
teaching the entire Church in France was identified. 

The perplexity of the situation forced upon men s 
attention certain neglected aspects of ecclesiastical 
truth. It compelled them to consider, what resources, 
apart from the Pope, did the Church possess? The 
rival Pontiffs scandalising Christendom by their selfish 
indifference, as it appeared, to the Church s real interests, 
challenged reflection on the relation between the Papacy 
and the Church. Yet where was the authority com 
petent to intervene? Theories of papal power had 
greatly developed since the age of Honorius. The 
Pope s practical ascendancy was very different from that 
which existed eight hundred years before. Habitual 
acquiescence in large practical assumptions made it 
harder now than in earlier times to find the true 
solution. The problem, therefore, absorbed the gravest 
attention of the ablest theologians of the day. 

The Pope, said Gerson, is removable by his own 
voluntary abdication. 1 This was historically exemplified 
in the case of Pope Celestine, who, while he abdicated 
the Papacy, is elevated among the saints. And if 
removable by his own act, he must be also removable 
by the Church, or by its representative, a General Council. 

1 Gerson, De Auferibilitate Papa ab Ecclesia. 


For since he can give his Spouse a writing of divorce 
ment, she must possess an equal liberty. Moreover, 
no office, dignity, or ministry, exists except for the 
edification and good of the community. Many cases 
may arise in which the Church will not be edified 
unless the Pope either abdicates or is deposed. There 
is no contradiction between this principle and the 
legitimate sense of the injunction " Touch not Mine 
Anointed ! " If the Greeks were willing to return to 
unity conditionally on the removal of the existing Pope, 
Gerson has no hesitation in saying that for the sake of 
so great a blessing this concession should be made. 

From discussion men advanced to action. The two 
Colleges of Cardinals united, and summoned a Council 
of the Church to be held at Pisa in 1409. The signi 
ficance of the Council of Pisa lies in its assumption of 
superiority over Popes. The trend of several centuries 
had been the other way. Now the balance of power 
was asserted and employed. The explicit intention of 
the Council was the healing of the Schism and the 
reforming of the Church alike in its head and members. 1 
It declared its action necessary and lawful, and pledged 
itself not to dissolve until it had effected a real reforma 
tion. It discussed at full length the respective claimants 
to the Roman See ; and decided that Peter de Luna and 
Angelo Corario, named in their respective obediences 
Benedict XIII. and Gregory XII., were both schismatics, 
and were hereby deposed. This deposition of Pope by 
Council was hitherto unexampled. 

The Roman See was now declared to be vacant, and 
then the Council proceeded to fill the vacancy by the 
creation of a new Pope under title of Alexander V. 

It is generally admitted that this creation was un 
wise because premature. Its success depended on the 

1 Bonnechose, C. Const, i. p. 40. 


consent of Christendom. And since neither Benedict 
nor Gregory would resign, it resulted in a triple 
obedience. To the Italian and Avignonese lines was 
now added the Pisan. 1 Alexander V. vainly denounced 
those " two monstrous sons of perdition " ; and then, after 
an exemplary pontificate of ten months, died at Bologna, 
and was replaced by the notorious and unfortunate, 
Balthasar Cossa, Master of Bologna, who assumed the 
style of John XXIII. Between these three Popes there 
followed the routine of mutual anathema and ex 
communication, which continued to lower the dignity 
of the Papacy in the esteem of Europe. Thus the 
Council of Pisa failed to heal the afflicted Church, or 
remedy the Schism. 

In the Council of Constance, 1414, the attempt was 
made again. Briefly, after numerous struggles John 
XXIIL, Benedict XIII., and Gregory XII., were all 
declared deposed, and eventually this sentence, through 
the influence of the Emperor Sigismund, prevailed. A 
new Pope was created in the person of Martin V. The 
three obediences were reunited, and the peace of the 
Church restored. 

The main interest of this Council, however, lies in its 
famous declaration. It claimed to be an Ecumenical 
Council, legitimately assembled with the authority of 
the Holy Spirit, representing the Catholic Church, having 
its power direct from Jesus Christ. Accordingly, to its 
decision in matters of faith as well as in other things, 
persons of whatever rank, including papal, are sub 

"This holy Synod of Constance, being a General 
Council, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, and 
representing the Church militant, has received immedi 
ately from Jesus Christ a power to which all persons of 
whatever rank and dignity, not excepting the Pope 

1 Baronius, Annals> 


himself, are bound to submit in those matters which 
concern the faith ; the extirpation of the existing 
Schism ; and the reformation of the Church in its 
head and its members." 

"Whosoever, be his dignity what it may, without 
excepting the Pope, shall obstinately refuse to obey 
the statutes, ordinances, and precepts of the present 
Council, or of any other General Council lawfully 
assembled, shall be subjected, unless he repent, to 
proportionate penance, and punished according to his 
deserts" (etc.). 

2. So far, then, for the details of history. We are 
next to follow the criticisms of theological schools within 
the Roman Communion upon the facts. Bellarmine, 
the Jesuit theologian, was a Cardinal in 1600. While 
claiming for the Pope a supremacy and Infallibility, in 
the most uncompromising terms, and with a fulness 
and clearness hitherto unexampled, he was naturally 
challenged to harmonise his theories with the facts of 
the Councils of the fifteenth century. 

It was argued that the Council of Constance possessed 
an ecumenical character. Now either this claim is 
legitimate or it is not. If it is, we must accept its 
principles, which affirm that an Ecumenical Council 
has its authority direct from Christ, and that all, of 
whatever rank, including papal, are subjected to its 
decisions. If it is not, then its work in deposing 
John XXIIL, Gregory XII., and Benedict XIII., and 
in replacing them by Martin V. is invalid, and cannot 
be sustained. Consequently, the whole line of Martin s 
successors is also illegitimate. 

Bellarmine denied that Constance was an Ecumenical 
Council. For, he said, it included only a third of the 
Church, one obedience out of three. He denied also 
that its election of Martin V. was thereby invalidated. 
An assembly may have power to elect, but not to 


define in matters of faith. Constance possessed ex 
ceptional power in an exceptional time. For a 
doubtful Pope is no Pope at all. 

With regard to the ecumenical character of the Council 
of Constance, Bossuet replied to Bellarmine that his 
criticism upon it did not go far enough. For the 
Council described itself as a general Synod assembled 
in the Holy Spirit, rightly and justly summoned, 
opened, and enacted. Now this account of itself is 
either a simple truth, or a blasphemous assumption. 
Its opponents dare not venture to call it the latter. 

It is also quite misleading to say, as Bellarmine does, 
that the Council of Constance represented only one 
out of three obediences. As a matter of fact, the 
vast majority of Christendom was represented there. 
The adherents of Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. 
had by that time dwindled to relative insignificance. 
The great nationalities, the theological faculties, the 
religious orders, were all on the Council s side. If 
insignificant fractions, with Popes of doubtful claims, 
still remained for a period aloof, this did not seriously 
affect the claims of Constance to a representative 
character in Christendom. Still less is it possible that 
their claim to authority as assembled in the Holy 
Ghost, and constituting a General Council, can be 
condemned as a falsehood and a blasphemy. 

Bellarmine himself admitted that the Council of Basle 
decided with the Legate s consent that the Council is 
above the Pope, which is certainly now considered 
erroneous. Now ! echoes Bossuet : that is a sign of 
novelty. And by whom ? By a private theologian. 
Is, then, the opinion of a private teacher to be set 
above the unanimous decree of a Universal Council 
presided over by the Legates of the Apostolic See? 1 
1 Bossuet, t. xxi. p. 57. 


The argument that these Councils possessed excep 
tional power in an exceptional time was, according to 
Bossuet, 1 refuted by the Councils themselves. No doubt 
the Assembly of Constance declared its mission to be 
the termination of the Schism, and the union and 
reformation of the Church in its head and members a 
temporary work. But it also affirmed that it was the 
duty of all men of whatever rank and condition, even 
papal, to submit to the authority not only of this 
Council, but also of every other General Council law 
fully assembled. Thus the supremacy of the Council 
is asserted to be not a mere temporary expedient to 
solve exceptional difficulties, but an inherent character 
istic of the Universal Church in this representative form 
of self-expression. 

Bellarmine s second main argument against the 
Council of Constance was that Pope Martin V. never 
confirmed its decrees. This involved two points : a 
speculative theory of the nature of papal confirmation ; 
and also a question of fact. Bossuet replied to the 
speculative theory that confirmation of the acts of a 
Council did not imply what Bellarmine supposed ; for 
Popes have often confirmed the acts and decrees of 
their predecessors, which certainly on Ultramontane 
principles could not be interpreted as imparting to them 
a validity not possessed before. Confirmation merely 
meant acceptance, assent. Beyond it lay the further 
enquiry : What is the inherent value of a Universal 
Council s decree apart from papal acceptance ? Bossuet 
would answer that question one way, Bellarmine another. 
And in so doing each would have his followers ; for 
each represented schools of thought within the Roman 

Then as to the question of fact : 

1 Works, t. xxi. p. 551. 


Bellarmine s assertion that Martin V. did not accept 
the decisions of Constance is, according to Bossuet, 
particularly unfortunate. For Martin V. was, as Cardinal 
Colonna, present through the sessions of Pisa and of 
Constance, and influential in passing the Council s claims 
to be ecumenical and assembled in the Holy Spirit. 
And yet this Cardinal, without any revocation of this 
opinion, was elected to the Papal See. Martin s own 
mind on the authority of General Councils is sufficiently 
clear. All that Bellarmine found to urge was that 
Martin said he confirmed what had been done con- 
ciliariter\ that is, says Bellarmine, in the proper way, 
as Councils should : which he interpreted to mean, after 
careful examination into facts a condition which was 
not fulfilled at Constance. And, therefore, Martin did 
not intend to confirm this claim. 

Bossuet considered that nothing could exceed the 
feebleness of the argument. The Roman Pontiffs, says 
Bossuet, have never spoken of the Council of Constance 
without veneration ; have never passed any adverse 
criticism upon it. Paul V. had its proceedings published 
by the Vatican, complete, on a level of authority with 
the Council of Nicea. 1 

The long struggle of the fifteenth century between 
two conceptions of Ecclesiastical Authority that which 
placed the ultimate decision in the Collective Episcopate, 
and that which placed it in the solitary Voice issued, 
on the whole, to the advantage of the latter. However 
great the services which the reforming Council rendered 
to Christendom, and great undoubtedly they were, yet 
the blunders perpetrated by them, and their ultimate 
collapse, seriously compromised their rightful claims. 
The Papacy had learnt lessons it was never likely to 
forget, and the following period was instinctively a 

1 Bossuet, Works, t. xxi. p. 53. 


period of self - protection and recovered authority. 
Wonderful as it seems, even the characters of 
Alexander VI., Julius II., and Leo X. did not 
prevent an advance of the papal power over the limits 
which it occupied in the previous period. None of 
these individuals asserted their Infallibility. Their 
interests were elsewhere. Pope Hadrian VI. was 
successor to Leo X. As Professor of Theology at 
Louvain, he published the following observations on 
Infallibility : - 

" If by the Roman Church is understood its head, 
that is the Pope, it is certain that it can err, even in 
those matters which concern the Faith, by publishing 
heresy in its decisions and decrees. For many Roman 
Pontiffs have been heretics. Of recent times it is 
reported that Pope John XXII. publicly taught, declared, 
and commanded to be believed by all, that purified souls 
do not have the clear vision of God before the Final 

Bossuet calls the readers attention to Pope Hadrian s 
view of the Papacy. 1 How clearly he taught, and held 
as indisputable, that the Pope could be a heretic not 
only in his private capacity, but in his official decisions 
and decrees! How emphatically he rejects what his 
predecessor " publicly taught, declared, and commanded 
to be believed by all ! " Whether any explanation of 
the teaching of Pope John XXII. can be attempted 
is not to the point. In any case the fact remains 
that Hadrian VI. held these ideas of Papal Fallibility. 
And if he wrote this as a theologian, before his 
elevation to the Papacy, there is no trace that he ever 
retracted his doctrine, as he must have done had 
he come to think it erroneous. On the contrary, he 
published it after becoming Pope (1522). 

i. p. 37. 



THE next crisis between papal and episcopal theories 
of authority is reached in the Council of Trent. The 
primary purpose of that Assembly was to reply to those 
without, rather than to determine opinions within the 
Roman Communion. But the effort to formulate their 
own convictions disclosed sharply contested theories 
within. The conflict of opposing schools became par 
ticularly conspicuous when the Sacrament of Orders 
came up for consideration in November 1562. The 
century and a half between Constance and Trent had 
somewhat diminished the impression of the Schism. 
Teaching on the supremacy of the Council over the 
Pope was naturally less emphatic now than in those 
disastrous days. Yet the school which considered the 
Pope supreme, and that which considered the Collective 
Episcopate to hold that high position, coexisted within 
the Roman Body ; just as the entire previous develop 
ment would lead us to expect. In the Council Chamber 
of Trent, from the lips of Bishops, both theories are 
sharply stated. 

On the papal side it was claimed that consecration 
to the Episcopate confers orders but not jurisdiction. 
Jurisdiction is the authority to govern the Christian 
flock. And it was argued that a Bishop does not 



necessarily possess jurisdiction. He possesses juris 
diction when the flock has been assigned to him. 
But, said the papal advocates, it is the Pope who 
gives to the Bishop his flock. Consequently, it is the 
Pope who confers the jurisdiction. 

The real basis of this theory is the opinion that all 
jurisdiction was originally conferred by Christ upon 
St Peter ; that it belongs exclusively to him and his 
successors; that the plenary jurisdiction of St Peter 
was transmitted, but not that of the other Apostles. 
The papal advocates in the Council of Trent frankly 
stated their anxiety to protect the papal power. If the 
Pope in conveying jurisdiction was only instrumental, 
then the plenitude of power was not really his. But 
whatever the Bishops are, the Pope must be the source 
of all authority. It was even asserted that Bishops 
are superior to priests not by divine right, but by papal 
permission. The Pope, it was declared, had power to 
deprive, transfer, or depose the Bishops at will, as might 
seem to him expedient for the Universal or the local 
Church. So, at least, a Bishop said. We shall see 
this theory bearing fruits in France in the days of 
Napoleon. Another Bishop even proclaimed that our 
Lord baptized St Peter only among the Apostles, while 
Peter baptized the rest, and created them Bishops of 
the Church. 

On the other side, the theory of supreme episcopal 
right, commission, and authority was firmly and widely 
maintained. Consecration, it was affirmed, conferred 
jurisdiction as well as orders. Indeed jurisdiction is 
essential to the episcopal function ; and consecration 
cannot confer an inadequate mutilated power. In 
jurisdiction we should distinguish the capacity and 
its exercise. The capacity is bestowed direct by 
Christ in consecration ; the particular sphere of its 


exercise is accidental and subordinate. Appeal was 
made to the Council of Constance in support of 
this. Accordingly, Bishops are Vicars of Christ. 
They are also successors of the Apostles. All the 
Apostles received jurisdiction direct from Christ. The 
Bishops are their true successors, therefore their 
right is divine. The divine right of the Pope can 
be rested on no other ground than on his succession 
to St Peter. By an equal reason the Bishops are 
successors of the Apostles. Christ did not only 
institute Peter and his successors, but also the Apostles 
and theirs. In the primitive Church, so Bishops 
argued at Trent, the papal theory did not exist. For 
Titus and Timothy were appointed by St Paul, and 
others by the other Apostles, without any authority from 
or reference to the Supreme Pontiff. Indeed the Keys 
of the Kingdom of Heaven were given to St Peter, but 
not to him alone. 

Between these conflicting schools others endeavoured 
to mediate. A member of the Council thought it almost 
sacrilege to go on discussing the Pope s authority when 
they had no mandate so to do. Another pleaded that 
no discussion should be held on episcopal jurisdiction. 
The condemnation of either opinion would be the 
repudiation of many accredited teachers. Another 
deprecated controverted points. What, he exclaimed, 
will the heretics say when they hear that we, after 
fifteen hundred years, are enquiring by what right 
Bishops exist? These questions should be avoided as 
encouraging heretics and scandalising Catholics. The 
proper theme for the Council s consideration was rather, 
How is the episcopal office to be rightly discharged ? 
This is what the world expects the Council to decide. 
Thus he recalled them to practical reform. Vainly did 
the presiding Legate remind them that the Council 


was called to condemn heretics, not to discuss matters 
controverted among Catholics. 

But party feeling was very strong. A Spanish Bishop 
ventured to observe that the Canon of Nicaea (4) 
on Episcopal consecration made no reference whatever 
to the Pope. This created an uproar. The Italian 
Bishops shouted, " Anathema, burn him, he is a heretic." 

The meeting closed in indescribable confusion. When 
the subject was resumed, on the following day, the 
Legates expressed themselves firmly resolved to main 
tain the dignity of the Council, even if necessary by 
dissolving the Assembly. The Cardinal de Lorraine, 
head of the Bishops from France, supported the Legates. 
He is said to have observed that if such an insult had 
been offered to a French Bishop, he would have left 
the Council with all the French contingent and returned 
to France. Cardinal de Lorraine made no secret of his 
adherence to the principles of the French Church. 

" I am a Gallican," he said in a letter to Rome, 
"brought up in the University of Paris, in which the 
authority of a General Council is esteemed superior to 
that of a Pope, and they who hold the contrary are 
condemned as heretics. In France the Council of 
Constance is throughout considered Ecumenical." 1 

It is said that if the question had been pressed by 
the presiding Legates to a division, they could have 
obtained a majority. But they could not have obtained, 
on the disputed points, anything approaching unanimity. 
Accordingly, the controversy on the source of episcopal 
jurisdiction was left finally undetermined. So far as 
the Decisions of Trent are concerned there was nothing 
on this matter to prohibit retention of the ancient view. 

There was an anxiety in Rome not to push things 

1 Richerius, Vindicia Gall. p. 13. 


to antagonism and division. An historian of the Council 
says that the Pope advised the Legates that nothing 
should be defined without the Bishops unanimous 
consent : l a maxim to which constant appeal was 
made from the Age of Trent to that of the Vatican. 2 
The appeal was natural, for this maxim harmonised 
with the principle that the ultimate decision in faith 
rested with the Collective Episcopate. 

Since Spanish and French opposition in the Council 
of Trent frustrated any endorsement of Italian theories 
of jurisdiction, it is clear what would have been the 
result of any attempt to make decrees on papal authority. 
No further addition was made in this direction. Belief 
in the supreme authority of the Council in matters of 
faith was left, so far as Trent was concerned, exactly 
where it was before. It remained the conviction of the 
Church in France. 

The correspondence between Rome and the Legates 
at Trent has never been published yet. Members of 
the Council of the Vatican asked permission to see it, 
but Theiner, librarian of the Vatican, was not allowed 
to show the documents. Lord Acton 3 says that Theiner 
deemed the concealment prudent. 

Whether that opinion is correct or not, and it has 
been disputed, what is certain is that if a comparison 
be made between the relation of Pope and Council 
at Trent and at the Vatican, a vast development of 
papal authority will be found in the later period, and 
a corresponding diminution of the independent action 
of the Collective Episcopate. It will be sufficient 
here to note that at Trent the claims of minorities 
were respected ; that nothing was passed without moral 
unanimity ; that the Bishops framed the regulations by 

1 Pallavicini, XIX. ii. 2 Cf. Bossuet, xxi. p. 24. 

3 Hist. Freedom, p. 431. 


which they were to be controlled ; that no methods 
of procedure were imposed upon them from without ; 
that the Roman Pontiff of that day made no attempt 
to force new dogmas on large and reluctant minorities. 
These comparisons were made within the Roman 
Church, when the later Assembly had shown its 



NOTHING can better illustrate the development of 
thought on the papal power after the Council of Trent 
than the theories of Cardinal Bellarmine. A nephew of 
one Pope and friend of another, a Jesuit, resident in 
Rome, a Cardinal in 1600, he strikingly represents the 
extreme tendencies of the Italian School. He put forth 
to the world in his volumes of Controversies a systematic 
and elaborated conception of supremacy and Infallibility 
certainly unsurpassed. 

The supremacy of Peter is upheld on the ground that 
our Lord said to him in the Apostles presence, " Feed my 
sheep." In this injunction all sheep must be included. 
And therefore the Apostles themselves are sheep whom 
Peter must feed. While the Apostles, it may be admitted, 
derive their jurisdiction direct from Christ, the Bishops 
receive it direct from the Pope. Confirmation of this 
principle is sought in the relation of Moses to the 
Elders, and also in the monarchical character of the 
Church s constitution. According to Bellarmine, it 
is essential to the monarchical idea that all authority 
reside in one, and from that one be communicated to 
others. The Bishops are not successors of the Apostles ; 
since the latter were not ordinary but extraordinary and 
delegated pastors, and as such have no successors at 



all. From these principles the relation of the Collective 
Episcopate, or Ecumenical Council, to the Pope may be 
readily imagined. Existing theories as to Papal Infalli 
bility are grouped by Bellarmine as four. First, that the 
Pope, even with an Ecumenical Council, can be a heretic 
and teach heresy, and has actually so done. This is the 
opinion of Lutheran and Calvinist. Secondly, that the 
Pope, if he speak apart from an Ecumenical Council, 
can be a heretic and teach heresy, and has actually done 
so. This is the Parisian view, held by Gerson and Pope 
Hadrian VI. Thirdly, that the Pope cannot possibly, 
under any circumstances, be a heretic nor teach heresy. 
For this opinion Bellarmine only quotes one writer 
(Pighius), of whom Bossuet observes that nobody 
endorses his absurdities. Fourthly, that the Pope, 
whether he can be a heretic or not, cannot define any 
thing heretical to be believed by the whole Church. 
This Bellarmine calls the most prevalent opinion of 
nearly all Catholics. He admits that various advocates 
of it interpolate various conditions of its exercise, such as 
consultation with his advisers, mature reflection, and so 
forth. But he thinks that they would deny that these 
conditions can ever be unfulfilled ; on the ground that 
God who designs the end must also arrange the means. 

Of these four opinions Bellarmine proceeds to pro 
nounce the first heretical. The second he will not 
venture to term actually heretical, because its advocates 
are, so far, tolerated by the Church. This audacious 
statement should be read in the light of the entire 
previous history of Christendom. Yet Bellarmine holds 
it erroneous, and proximate to heresy ; and that it 
might deservedly be declared heretical by a decision of 
the Church. The third opinion he pronounces probable, 
but not certain. 

The last is most certain, and to be taught. He 


supports it by asserting that no appeal is ever per 
missible from a Pope to a General Council ; that not 
only the Pope himself is inerrable in matters of faith, 
but even the particular Roman Church in Italy cannot 
err. This opinion at least is pious and most probable ; 
although not so certain that the contrary can be called 
heretical. But, even with this, Bellarmine does not feel 
that his wonderful construction is yet secure. Accord 
ingly he asserts that it is probable, and may be piously 
believed, not that the Pontiff cannot officially err, but 
even that as a particular individual he cannot be a 
heretic, or pertinaciously believe anything contrary to the 
faith. This appears to Bellarmine essential to protect 
the Pope s official Infallibility. For how, he asks, could 
a Pope, if inwardly heretical, strengthen his brethren in 
faith and teach the truth? No doubt the Almighty 
could extort a true confession from the heart of a 
heretic just as He put true words in the mouth of 
Balaam s ass. But, to Bellarmine s reflection, this pro 
cedure would be violent, and hardly in accord with 
that Providential Wisdom which sweetly disposeth all 

After this elevation of papal authority to the highest 
height, there necessarily follows a corresponding de 
preciation of the value of the Collective Episcopate 
and its utterances in Council assembled. General 
Councils, before the Pope confirms their decisions, may 
err, unless the Fathers in defining follow the Pope s 
instructions. He is aware that the School of Paris, 
and all who maintain the supremacy of the Council 
over the Pope, will reject this. The Parisian Doctors 
hold that a General Council cannot err even apart 
from papal confirmation. But if it could not err then 
it would be final ; and if so, where would be space for 
papal confirmation ? Accordingly Bellarmine could not 


possibly endorse their view. He knows that his 
opponents will retort : General Councils anathematise 
those who contradict ; they do not restrain their 
anathemas until the Pope has confirmed them. Bellar- 
mine answers : They must certainly mean that their 
anathemas are conditional on the Pope s endorsement ! 

What forces Bellarmine to these eccentricities is 
his opinion that no authority was given by Christ to 
the Universal Church but only to St Peter. Conse 
quently, if the General Council represent the Universal 
Church, yet it cannot possess what the entire Body did 
not receive. To Bellarmine s view the Supreme Pontiff 
is simply and absolutely above the Universal Church, 
and above the General Council ; so that no judgment 
on earth can be superior to his. If the objection be 
urged that on this theory the Church is left in case of 
trouble without a remedy : Bellarmine answers, No ; 
there is the divine Protection. We may pray God to 
convert the Pope, or to take him away before he 
ruins the Church. 

It is certainly one of the ironies of history that the 
volume of Controversies, in which these theories are 
contained, was placed on the Index by Pope Sixtus V. 
as deficient, in certain respects, in the regard which a 
Catholic owed to the Holy Father. In the curiously 
self- laudatory pages of Bellarmine s Autobiography 
there still survives his own comment on this act of 
papal authority. He informs us that in the year 1591 
Gregory XIV. was reflecting what he ought to do 
with the Vulgate edited by Sixtus V. There were 
not wanting men of importance who held that the 
use of this edition ought to be publicly prohibited. 
But Bellarmine suggested, in the Pope s presence, that 
correction was better than prohibition. Thus the 
honour of Pope Sixtus would be saved, and the book 


produced in an emended form. He advised, therefore, 
a republication after correction, with a preface stating 
that in the first edition various errors, typographical 
and other, had, through haste, crept in. Thus, says 
Bellarmine, he did Pope Sixtus good in return for evil. 
For Sixtus placed Bellarmine s work on Controversies 
upon the Index of Prohibited Books, because it rejected 
the direct dominion of the Pope over the whole world. 
But, when Pope Sixtus was dead, the Congregation of 
Sacred Rites ordered the prohibition of Bellarmine s 
work to be erased. 1 

The theories of Roman theologians made great 
advances in the sixteenth century. But it is curious 
to note that some of the most extreme are yet con 
sidered inadequate and defective by papal writers since 
the Vatican Decrees. Torquemada was a theologian 
devoted to the enhancement of the Apostolic See. 2 
For him the plenitude of power existed in the Pope 
alone. Was it not written there shall be one fold and 
one shepherd ? For him all the other Apostles derived 
their jurisdiction from St Peter. And, accordingly, all 
Bishops derive their jurisdiction immediately from the 
Pope, and not from Christ. But notwithstanding all 
this, Torquemada does not come up to Ultramontane 
requirements. The German infallibilist, Schwane, is 
not satisfied with him as an advocate of Papal 

" Infallibility of the Pope," says Schwane, "could not 
be passed over in silence by a papal theologian as 
eminent as Torquemada. Nevertheless, he has not 
realised this doctrine in all its purity." 3 

1 Cf. Dollinger und Reusch, Die Stlbstbiographie des Cardinals Bellar- 
min, p. 38, and notes pp. 106-111. 

2 Ghilardi, De Plenitudine Potestatis> R.P. p. 15. 

3 Hist. Dogm., v. p. 377. 


Torquemada, it appears, had such regard for papal 
freedom of will that he could not deny the possibility 
of its erroneous exercise, even in the discharge of the 
highest papal function. But while admitting that the 
Pope might err in an official utterance to the whole 
Church, he evaded the disastrous consequence to the 
doctrine of Infallibility by affirming that such a misuse 
of authority would constitute the Pope a heretic, and, 
as such, ip so facto, Pope no longer. Thus he secures the 
Papal Infallibility by maintaining the self-deposition of 
any Pope who teaches erroneously. 

Schwane remarks acutely enough that Torquemada s 
defence of Papal Infallibility virtually places the supreme 
decision not in the Pope but in a General Council of the 
Church. For it manifestly tends to ascribe to General 
Councils the right to revise all papal dogmatic decrees, 
in order to ascertain whether they are heretical or not ; 
whether they proceed from one who is really Pope, or 
from one who, having taught erroneously, is not Pope 
at all. 

To avoid these dangerous tendencies Torquemada, 
according to Schwane, ought to have denied the 
possibility of the Pope s misuse of free will in his 
ex cathedra pronouncements ; and this on the ground 
that the promises of Christ cannot fail to secure 
their own fulfilment, and must accordingly override the 
metaphysical possibility of mistake. This theory of 
the unconditional character of Christ s promises, of the 
almost mechanical necessity of their realisation, irre 
spective of the human will and human compliance, con 
stantly meets us in recent Ultramontane developments. 
Torquemada, however, knew nothing about all this, or 
did not see his way to accept such theories. There 
remain, therefore, grave discrepancies, according to 
recent Roman writers, between this papal theologian 


of the sixteenth century papal though indeed he was, 
and the doctrine as it shaped itself in the Vatican 
Decrees. This inadequacy of its defenders, as judged 
by the standard of the nineteenth century decision, is 
a not unimportant feature in the doctrine s development. 



DURING the seventeenth century Ultramontanism found 
its principal obstruction in the Church of France, its 
principal support in the Jesuit Society. The progress of 
the theory roughly corresponded with the vicissitudes of 
this powerful community. The League againstthe succes 
sion in France exchanged monarchical and Gallican senti 
ments for Republican and Ultramontane. The theories 
of political independence and ecclesiastical absolutism 
flourished for a time. Ultramontanism even controlled 
for a time the very stronghold of Gallican doctrine the 
Sorbonne itself. But this cannot be rightly regarded as 
anything more than a transient politically affected phase. 
The Sorbonne returned to its ancient loyalties. It 
possessed no longer the same authority and weight as 
in the disastrous days of the great Schism ; but it 
still imposed a powerful check on the theories of the 
Ultramontane. Its influence was often compromised, 
sometimes counterbalanced, by the Jesuit Society which, 
supported by an Italian Queen Regent during the 
minority of Louis XIII., was enabled to effect gradual 
encroachments upon the ancient University, by found 
ing colleges and, ultimately, granting degrees, even in 
Paris itself. 1 Cardinal Richelieu, rebuilder and lavish 

1 Cf. Jourdain, Hist. Univ. Paris. 



patron of the Sorbonne though he was, could, never 
theless, for political reasons, encourage the Jesuit 
foundations ; on the pretext that rival educational 
establishments sharpened the wits of both. Thus the 
first half of the century witnessed the perpetual 
efforts of the Sorbonne to strengthen the theological 
principles of the French Church, and to exclude the 
Ultramontane, thwarted or weakened by the influence 
of the Jesuit exercised through the Palace. Jesuit 
confessors directed the Royal consciences, and made 
them inaccessible to the protests of the Sorbonne. 
Again and again theological discussions were sus 
pended or suppressed by royal authority, at the secret 
instigation of this powerful community. A notable 
instance is found in the experiences of the celebrated 
Edmond Richer, the learned Syndic of the Sorbonne, 
in the opening years of the seventeenth century. 
Richer had been in early youth a member of the 
League, and, as such, a Republican and an Ultramon 
tane ; but his matured reflections led him to embrace 
the historic principles of the Church of France, and to 
become a truceless foe of the Jesuits, and of the Ultra 
montane opinions with which they were at the time 
identified. In the year 1606 he distinguished himself 
by republishing the works of Chancellor Gerson. In 
1611 the opposing School proposed for discussion at 
a Dominican Convent in Paris, before an illustrious 
assembly, including royal personages, the Papal Nuncio, 
and Cardinal du Perron, the following thesis: (i) That 
the Roman Pontiff cannot err in faith and morals; 
(2) that the Council is in no case superior to the 
Pope. 1 Richer, as Syndic of the Sorbonne, protested. 
The forbearance of the Gallicans was sorely tried by 
such contradictions to the principles of their fathers. 

1 Richerius, Vindicia Gall. 


Ultimately it was arranged that a member of the 
Sorbonne, Claudius Bertin, should advocate the Gallican 
side. Bertin began with the syllogism : Whatever con 
tradicts an Ecumenical Council is heresy. Your thesis 
the Council is in no case superior to the Pope contra 
dicts the Ecumenical Council of Constance, therefore 
it is heresy. At this the Papal Nuncio grew visibly 
indignant. Bertin s opponent mildly answered : " Do not 
say this assertion is heretical ; it is enough to call it 
misleading, erroneous." He disclaimed any desire to 
offend the Faculty of Paris. He only desired to 
ascertain the truth. And where in all the world could 
this question be discussed if not within this most 
famous University? Here Richer, the Syndic, inter 
posed. The Sorbonne had always held the Council 
of Constance as Ecumenical, and, accordingly, that its 
decision on the supremacy of the Council over the 
Pope was a matter of faith. 

The discussion was resumed,but ultimately, at Cardinal 
du Perron s request, and evidently in the Ultramontane 
interests, brought to an abrupt conclusion. The Parlia 
ment of Paris followed this up with an injunction pro 
hibiting the Dominicans from disputes on the Pope s 

The Jesuits were so enraged by Richer s action that 
from that day forward they never gave him peace. 
They were powerful enough to secure his dismissal from 
office. But he was a person more easily dismissed than 
suppressed. He wrote a pamphlet on ecclesiastical and 
political power, to show that the Church is a monarchy, 
but its government an aristocracy ; for neither the Pope 
nor the other Bishops can decide matters of importance 
without the guidance of a Council. The infallible 
authority in matters of faith rests, he taught, with the 
Universal Council as representing the Universal Church. 



This work offended Cardinal du Perron, who could not 
see how proper regard for monarchy was consistent 
with the view that aristocracy was naturally the highest 
form of government. 1 Meanwhile Richer retired con 
tentedly into studious quietude, where he composed his 
great work on the Councils, published after his death. 
But his enemies could not let him rest. He says that 
he could not venture beyond the gates of the College 
lest the satellites of the Roman authorities should fall 
upon him. 2 From the treatment measured out to him 
he sees that the Roman Curia is resolved to obliterate 
the ancient doctrine of the School of Paris, and to 
allow no man to speak of the true government of the 
Church, or the independence of the State, without 
branding him as a heretic or schismatic. 8 It is said that 
Richer was forced by menaces to sign a recantation of 
his views of papal power. Whatever he signed, the 
independent statements of his own literary Testament 
remain to show his real convictions. 

" I, Edmond Richer ... in the 53 year of my life 
. . . seated in my library, sound in body and mind, 
write this latin codicil in the form of a Testament." 4 

He then appeals to his defence of the ancient principles 
in the Disputations of 1611; and recalls the persecu 
tions he has undergone : how it was said that a vow 
to assassinate him would be most acceptable to God, 
or that if he were snared and sent to Rome he would 
soon find out whether the Pope possessed the temporal 
sword. 5 Men do not realise, says Richer, how grievously 
these theories compromise the Apostolic See. For more 

1 Letter to Casaubon, Les Ambassades et Negotiations > p. 694, 

2 Richer s Testament^ p. 3. 

3 Richerius, Vindicia Doctrines Ma/orum, p. 2. 

4 Ibid. p. II. 6 Ibid. p. 14. 


than twenty years he has been beset by enemies. And 
yet they are the true principles of Church government, 
transmitted by the Fathers, restored in the Councils 
of Constance and Basle, which are being attacked 
through him. 1 The example of Richer is intended as 
a warning to frighten the theologians of Paris from 
maintaining the doctrine of their fathers. Accord 
ingly whatever his malicious opponents may contrive 
at this day, or may hereafter contrive against him, 
he prays that he may have the grace to forgive 
and the fortitude to resist. In this unhappy age in 
which truth is diminished among the children of 
men he registers his emphatic rejection of the theory 
that the Pope is the absolute infallible ruler of the 
Church. 2 

Undoubtedly this was the faith in which Richer died. 3 
Another instance of the teaching of the French 
Church occurs in a book by Francis Veron, entitled 
The Rule of Faith, or a separation of those matters 
which are of Catholic faith from those that are not. 
Veron was Doctor of Theology in Paris, and died 
in 1646.* He quotes the doctrine of Trent and 
Florence. Trent committed him to the recognition of 
the Roman Church as the Mother and Mistress of all 
Churches ; to the belief that the Roman Pontiff is Peter s 
successor and Vicar of Christ ; and to the duty of 
obedience to his commands. The Council of Florence 
described the Pope as Head of the whole Church, and as 
Father and Teacher of all Christians ; and affirmed him 
to possess a plenary power, such as is recognised in the 
Acts of the Ecumenical Councils, and in the canons. 
So much, then, Veron acknowledges as of faith. But 

1 Richerius, Vindicia Doctrines Majorum^ p. 14. 

2 Ibid. 16-17. 8 A.D. 1629, 
4 Ed. Sebastian Brunner, 1857, p. 145. 


nothing beyond this is of faith, because the Church has 
asserted nothing more. He lays particular stress on 
the language of Florence, because Greek and Latin 
were therein met in conclave. 

" Accordingly," Veron s conclusion is that, " it is not 
of faith that the Roman Pontiff, in his teaching, whether 
in a particular Council, or in a Provincial Synod, even 
if he address the Universal Church, or when, as they 
say, he speaks ex cathedra, supposing him to teach 
apart from a Universal Council, is the supreme judge 
of controversies, or is infallible ; nor that what is so 
defined is of faith, unless the conviction of the Universal 
Church otherwise declare it." * 

According to the doctrine of Trent it is the Church 
alone whose function it is to determine the true mean 
ing and interpretation of Holy Scripture. No theologian 
hitherto, says Veron, not even Bellarmine himself, has 
ventured to assert that the Pope s Infallibility is of faith. 2 
Bellarmine admits that the theory that the Pope, if he 
venture to define even as Pope apart from a General 
Council, may fall into heresy, was held by no less a 
personage than the theologian who afterwards became 
Pope Hadrian VI. 3 Bellarmine admits also that this 
theory is not heretical, for its advocates are tolerated 
by the Church. If Bellarmine, nevertheless, labels this 
same theory proximate to heresy, this is his individual 
view and in Veron s judgment unjustifiable. As to 
further discussion, Veron deprecates it He writes as 
a Catholic teacher and not in a scholastic or specula 
tive way. 

" Since the Catholic Church teaches nothing concern 
ing this matter, [of Papal Infallibility] neither need I." 4 
What is true is that whatever issues from so high an 
authority is- to be received with great regard. 

1 Veron. Regula Fidci. Ed. Sebastian Br aimer. 1857, p. 146. 

2 Ibid. p. 147. 3 Ibid, p. 147. 4 Ibid. p. 148. 



THE struggle between the Sorbonne and the Jesuits was 
no mere struggle between a theological school and a 
religious community. The universities held, in the 
theological controversies of those days, a position with 
which nothing modern exactly corresponds. They were 
exponents of the religious conceptions of the Church. 
They derived from it their principles and returned to 
it their inferences and suggestions. The Sorbonne 
was not an isolated school of independent theological 
speculators. It represented, generally speaking, the 
mind of the Church in France. Of course universities 
might utter conflicting decisions. But it is peculiarly 
true of the Sorbonne that it represented the indigenous 
as opposed to the imported theology of France. While 
the Ultramontane was Italian in origin, a foreign 
product, like the Jesuit, and under foreign control, the 
Sorbonne was typical of the traditions of the Church 
within the Kingdom. Its sentiments were endorsed by 
the Bishops. Political incidents occasioned the famous 
collective expression of the traditional convictions of 
the French Church in the Assembly of Clergy in 1682. 
That Assembly arose out of an unexpected collision 
between Louis XIV. and Pope Innocent XL, in a 
question of the relation between the Church and the 



State. The King already possessed over a portion of 
France the power, fully recognised at Rome, to appoint 
to vacant benefices and to be recipient of the revenues 
during a vacancy. But he now sought to make this 
privilege co-extensive with the realm. The Bishops 
acquiesced with the exception of two Pavilion of 
Aleth, and Caulet of Pamiers. Pope Innocent took 
their view, and upheld them against their respective 
Metropolitans. Thereupon Louis XIV. summoned an 
Assembly of Bishops and of selected Priests who, 
without hesitation, yielded to the King s desires. The 
personage selected to preach the sermon at the open 
ing of this Assembly was Bossuet, incomparably the 
most important in this stage of French theological 

The selection testifies to the general conviction. 
Bossuet was highly valued alike by the King and by 
the Bishops. But he had a most delicate and difficult 
task before him. He must preach in a manner, if that 
were possible, to conciliate the temporal power, the 
episcopal power, and the papal power at Rome. He 
must be true to the traditional convictions of the 
Gallican Church, and yet not alienate the Gallicans 
from the Papacy, nor, if possible, offend the Pope. He 
must balance the temporal and spiritual power in such 
a manner as to satisfy Innocent without alienating the 
King. And never did Bossuet exhibit greater courage 
and dexterity. 1 In his famous sermon, which was on 
Unity, he described the primacy of St Peter, and the 
divine selection of the one to be the centre of Unity. 
He set the occupants of the Roman See very high, 
but he did not hesitate to speak of occasions when 
one or two of the Popes had not sustained with 
sufficient constancy, or had inadequately explained the 

1 Bossuet, t. xi. p. 588. 


doctrines of the Faith. 1 He even mentioned the one 
whom a Universal Council had condemned. This would 
be painful to the School of Infallibility, but it was the 
accepted doctrine of Catholic France. But Bossuet s 
magnificent conception of twelve centuries of unity, 
and his strenuous appeal to do nothing by which that 
record might be broken, or that unity endangered, 
must have tended greatly to conciliate and set the tone 
for the subsequent discussions. So far as to his first 
task the papal power. 

He was no less strong on the power of the Episcopate. 
The jurisdiction bestowed on Peter was also bestowed 
by Christ upon the Twelve. 2 He said the same thing 
to all the Apostles. 3 Their Commission was also 
immediate, direct from Christ. "One cannot imagine 
a power better established nor a mission more 
immediate." " It was manifestly the intention of 
Jesus Christ to bestow primarily upon one that which 
He ultimately willed to bestow upon many." 4 The 
relation of the Pope to the Episcopate is not that he 
is lord over the Bishops, but one of their number, as 
says St Bernard. 6 The power of the Holy See has 
nothing above it, says Bossuet, except the entire Catholic 
Church. 6 In the calamitous times when the Pope claimed 
the allegiance of Christendom, it was the Episcopate, 
urged the preacher, which terminated the Schism and 
restored the Pope. They must firmly maintain these 
principles which the Gallican Church had found in the 
traditions of the Universal Church ; and which the 
French Universities, particularly that of Paris, had 
taught with the full knowledge of the Roman See. 

On the relation of the temporal to the spiritual power 
Bossuet said : 

1 Bossuet, t. xi. p. 596. 2 Ibid. p. 599. 3 Ibid. p. 600. 
4 Ibid. p. 600. 5 Ibid. p. 618. 6 Ibid. p. 620. 


"Woe to the Church when these two jurisdictions 
begin to regard each other with a jealous eye. 1 
Ministers of the Church and ministers of kings are 
both alike ministers of the King of kings, although 
diversely established. Why do they not remember that 
these functions are united, that to serve God is to serve 
the State, and to serve the State is to serve God ? But 
authority is blind ; authority ever aims at exalting itself, 
at extending itself; authority considers itself degraded 
when reminded of its limitations." 

The Assembly ordered this sermon to be printed. 
The King was satisfied with it. Bossuet had conciliated 
two of the three departments, the Crown and the 
Episcopate. It remained to be seen how the sermon 
would be regarded at Rome. Bossuet sent the sermon 
with an explanatory letter to a friendly Cardinal. 

" I must tell your Eminence," he wrote, " that I was 
forced to speak of the liberties of the Gallican Church. 
You will at once realise what that involved. I set 
before myself two things the one, to do this without 
derogating from the true dignity of the Holy See ; the 
other, to explain the Gallican principles as the Bishops 
understood them, and not as they are understood by 
the magistrates." 2 . . . 

" The sensitive ears of Romans ought to be respected. 
And I have done so most readily. Three points might 
wound them, namely the temporal independence of 
the royal power ; episcopal jurisdiction received imme 
diately from Jesus Christ ; and the authority of the 

" You are well aware that in France we speak plainly 
on these matters, and I have endeavoured so to speak 
that, without wronging the doctrine of the Gallican 
Church, I might at the same time avoid offending 

1 Bossuet, t, xi. p. 623. 2 Ibid. p. 291. 

ix.] THE FOUR ARTICLES OF 1682 89 

the majesty of Rome. More than this cannot be 
expected of a Galilean Bishop whom circumstances 
compel to deal with points like these." 1 

Bossuet s sermon, says his biographer, was received at 
Rome with approval, real or affected. 2 The Assembly, 
however, was less successful. Subservient to the will of 
the temporal power, they made proposals which Rome 
rejected. But this antagonism between the Gallican 
Church and Rome led the Assembly to its reassertion 
of Gallican principles, in the four famous Articles of 
1682. To Bossuet was ultimately entrusted the delicate 
task of formulating the Gallican belief as to the limits of 
the papal power. Bossuet, representing the Church of 
France, denied the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. He 
believed that permanence in the truth was promised to 
the Roman See as distinguished from its temporary 
occupant. He maintained that although the Pope him 
self might be in error, yet that error would not be 
inherent in the Roman See, and would be corrected by 
the Church in Council. Above the Pope was the 
Universal Church. If the Roman See were in error 
on the faith, it would be brought back to the truth by 
the other Churches. Rome would quickly perceive 
its error, and would never fall into heresy or schism. 
But he denied that Infallibility could be attributed 
to the occupant of the Roman See. This view was 
the traditional conviction of the Church of France. 
Accordingly, when the Assembly formulated its Declara 
tion on the limits of papal power, it expressed itself by 
Bossuet s aid in the four Articles to the following effect : 

I. That the Pope could not release subjects from 
obedience to the temporal power. 3 

1 Works, vol. xi. p. 292. 

2 Cardinal Bausset, Hist, de Bossuet, p. 136. 
J Jervis, Hist. Ch. France, ii. p. 50. 


2. That the Decrees of Constance on the supreme 
authority of the Council remain in full force in 

3. That the independence of the Church of France 
must be maintained. 

4. That the decisions of the Pope are not infallible. 

"The Pope has the principal place in deciding 
questions of faith, and his decrees extend to every 
Church and all Churches ; but, nevertheless, his judg 
ment is not irreversible, until confirmed by the consent 
of the Church" 

Here, then, is the essential point on the subject of 
Infallibility. It resides in the Universal Church, and 
not in the occupant of a particular See. As to this 
doctrine, says an able French historian, there was no real 
diversity of opinion in France. There existed indeed 
an Ultramontane party which, countenanced by certain 
powerful protectors, possessed a varying influence ; l 
but it never won the consent of the clergy in France, 
which at all times showed the strongest antipathy to 
Ultramontane ideas. The Declaration was signed by 
thirty-four Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of 
France. It experienced, says Bossuet s biographer, 
himself a Cardinal of the Roman Church, no opposi 
tion in the Kingdom. 2 It did but reaffirm a doctrine 
which had been at all times dear to the University 
and theological Faculty of Paris. 

But if this Declaration of the Assembly was congenial 
throughout France it was otherwise in Rome. "The 
Pope appointed a congregation to frame a censure of 
the propositions." 3 Italian writers composed attacks 
upon them. One in particular was dedicated to 

1 Guettee, xL p. 85. * Baussct, ii. p. iS. 

* Jerris, Galluan Ch. ii p. 52. 


Innocent XL, " Lord of Rome and of the World, only 
Keeper of the Keys of Heaven and Earth and Paradise, 
Infallible Oracle of the Faith." This provoked the 
comment of Arnauld : 

" I pity the Holy See for possessing such defenders. 
It is a terrible judgment of God upon the Church if 
Rome adopts such methods of defence against the 
Bishops of France." 1 

[ Bossuefs correspondents in Rome sent him most 
unfavourable reports of the probable action of the Pope, 
Bossnet expressed himself very freely on the situation 
in a letter to the Monastery of La Trappe : 

" The affairs of the Church are in an evil plight The 
Pope openly threatens us with denunciations and even 
with new Decrees. Well-intentioned mediocrity in 

high places is a grave misfortune." 2 

" Your letter/ 1 wrote Bossnet to another correspondent, 
"preser.: . :.: :r.e creitr.t s:i:e ::" the ;\:rr. = r. 

Court which positively alarms me. Does Bellarmine 
really hold the chief place there ? Has he become their 
tradition ? Where are we if this is the case, and if the 
Pope is disposed to condemn whatever that author 
condemns ? Hitherto they have never ventured to do 
it They have never made this attack on the Council 
of Constance, nor on the Popes who have approved it. 
What shall we answer heretics when they confront us 
with this Council and its decrees, repeated at Basle with 
the express approval of Eugenics IV., and with all die 
other confirmatory acts of Rome ? If Eugenius IV. did 
well in his authentic approval of these decrees, how 
can people attack them? And if he did wrong, what 
becomes, men will ask, of his Infallibility? Shall we 
have to dude these difficulties and escape the authority 
of these Decrees, and of so many others both ancient 

1 Gucttee, xi. p. 87 . 

* Basnet, Letter no, L xzri. PL 313. 


and modern, by the scholastic distinctions and miserable 
subtleties of Bellarmine ? Must we assert with him and 
with Baronius that the Acts of the Sixth Council and 
the Letters of St Leo have been falsified? Will the 
Church, which has hitherto silenced heresy with solid 
reasons, have no better defence than these pitiful pre 
varications ? May God preserve us from it." 1 

Happily, says Cardinal Bausset, feeling at Rome 
quieted down ; and Innocent XI. was " providentially 
diverted from censuring the doctrine of France. He 
restricted himself to rewarding, with more generosity 
than judgment, the numerous writers who attacked the 
Assembly of 1682." 2 Not venturing to condemn the 
four Articles, he showed his displeasure by refusing 
Bulls to its members if nominated to Bishoprics. 
Louis XIV. retaliated by refusing to allow any Bishop 
to accept the papal Approval. This lasted through the 
pontificates of Innocent XI. and Alexander VIII. 
Innocent XII., says Cardinal Bausset, demanded and 
obtained letters of apology from the former deputies of 
the Assembly. They expressed their concern at his 
resentment, but in vague and general terms capable of 
various interpretations, and without any suggestion of 
abandoning their traditional convictions. 

But when Clement XL attempted, on the strength 
of these letters, to induce Louis XIV. to sup 
press the Assembly s propositions, Louis replied that 
Innocent XII. understood that his wisdom lay in not 
attacking principles regarded in France as fundamental 
and primitive, and held unaltered by the French Church 
over many centuries. His Holiness, said the King, is 
too enlightened to declare heretical what the Church 

1 Bossuet s letter to M. Dirois. 

2 Bausset, Hist, de Bossuet^ ii. p. 197. 


of France maintains. " Innocent XII. did not ask me 
to abandon them," added Louis. " He knew that such 
a demand would be useless." And there the matter 
stayed. Clement XI. acquiesced, like his predecessors, 
in the independence of the Church in France from 
Ultramontane opinions. 

The attack on the principles of the Church of France 
led Bossuet to write his greatest work The Defence 
of the Declaration)- Since the chief responsibility for 
producing the Declaration had fallen upon him, it 
became naturally his duty to defend it. From the 
year of the Assembly onward to the end of his life, 
some twenty years, he devoted an immensity of labour 
to its compilation. More than once proposals were 
made to publish, but reasons of State made it prudent 
not to offend the Pope, and the book never appeared 
during Bossuet s life. The MS. was left to Louis XIV., 
and in 1745 was printed. It is impossible in a limited 
space to give an adequate idea of the character of this 
monumental work. It is written in terse and vigorous 
Latin. It occupies two large 8vo. volumes of some 750 
pages each. Suffice it to say that the most powerful 
refutation of Papal Infallibility ever published came 
from the pen of the most distinguished Bishop of the 
Church in France ; from one who lived and died in 
communion with the Roman See. Authority never 
passed a censure on this work. Bossuet s Defence 
powerfully influenced belief in the Church in France. 
Many instances can be produced to show that it guided 
and taught the teachers of that Church down to the 
time of the Vatican Council itself. These volumes have 
proved the storehouse whence the most telling opposi 
tion to Ultramontanism has been derived. 

Now the special interest is that this Defence of the 

1 Cf. Jervis, Gallican Ch. ii. p. 56. 


Gallican Declaration was never condemned at Rome. 
Here is what Pope Benedict XIV., 1748, said about it : 

" In the time of our immediate predecessor, Clement 
XII., it was seriously debated whether this work ought 
not to be proscribed ; but it was finally determined 
that no censure should be passed upon it. This decision 
was arrived at, not only out of regard for the author s 
memory, who in other respects so worthily served the 
cause of religion, but also out of just apprehension of 
provoking fresh dissertations and renewing the dispute." * 

A striking testimony to the powerful effect of Bossuet s 
treatise when it first appeared is that of his learned 
opponent, Cardinal Orsi : 

" I have heard, not only at Rome, but also in many 
other places, a great many persons, distinguished alike 
for their character, learning, and ability, declare, after 
careful study of this work of Bossuet, that the Roman 
theologians had better abandon the defence of so 
hopeless a cause ; that it would be nobler if they would 
confess it frankly, since they do not see what answer they 
can make with any prospect of success to the historical 
evidence which Bossuet has collected." 2 

Bossuet s personal conviction on Infallibility was the 
doctrine of the fourth Article of the Assembly s Declara 
tion. He held that it requires the consent of the Church 
to make a papal decision on faith unalterable. He 
declared that whatever men may assert in theory, when 
it comes to practice, the final decision will inevitably 
depend on the consent of the Universal Church. This, 
says Cardinal Bausset, is exactly what occurs whenever 
the Ultramontanes are forced within their last entrench 
ments. Infallibility of the Pope ends by being only 
that of the Church. 3 

1 Jervis, Church of France, ii. p. 59. 

2 Bausset, ii. p. 427. Orsi, De irref. R. P. jud. Preface t. i. d. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 197. 


Bossuet attached very little importance to objections 
about the practical inconvenience of Papal Fallibility. 1 
To his mind it was perfectly futile to argue that, if 
we must wait for the consent of the Church to a 
pontifical decree, we should be leaving the minds 
of the faithful in suspense. He considers that the 
true remedy is not to extend the papal power, but to 
exercise more faith in the Holy Spirit and the Catholic 
Church. It is no disparagement to the Pope if the 
Church be placed above him. 2 

Similarly, the a priori argument that submission of 
the intellect must be due when the Pope defines a 
doctrine, otherwise faith would vacillate ; and that such 
submissions can only be justified when the authority 
cannot err ; leaves Bossuet unmoved, except to protest 
against the underlying assumption that unqualified 
submission is due. 

Bossuet s survey of history from the Apostolic Age to 
his awn time, Scripture, Fathers, Councils, Theologians, 
confirmed him in the truth of the principles of the 
Church in France. The ultimate and therefore irre 
versible decision in faith depended on the Collective 
Episcopate, and on that only ; as voicing the belief of 
the Universal Church. 

"What benefit to the Church," he exclaims in a 
striking passage, " can exist in that doubtful authority, 
which the Church has not yet affirmed, of a Pope s ex 
cathedra decisions? We live in the seventeenth century 
of the Catholic Church, and not yet are orthodox and 
saintly men agreed about that Infallibility. To say 
nothing of the Councils of Constance and of Basle, 
saintly and learned men are opposed to it. And if 
many private individuals clamour greatly, and pour 
forth imprudent censures against them, yet neither the 
Catholic Church nor Rome itself passes any condemna- 

1 Bossuet, i. p. 112. 2 Ibid. i. p. 113. 


tion upon them. Three hundred years we have con 
troverted it with impunity. Has the Church waited for 
peace and security down to this our age, until the 
seventeenth century is almost at an end ? Plainly, 
then, the security of pious souls must rest in the 
consent of the Universal Church. It cannot be that 
they should acquiesce in the doubtful Infallibility of 
the Roman Pontiff. ... A doubtful Infallibility is not 
that Infallibility which Christ bestowed. If He had 
granted it at all He would have revealed it to His 
Church from the very beginning. He would not have 
left it doubtful, inadequately revealed, nor useless for 
want of an indisputable tradition." l 

What made the Pope s advocacy of Ultramontane 
ideas additionally distressing to Bossuet and others 
was that in their presentation of Catholic Truth to 
Protestants no mention whatever had been made of 
Papal Infallibility as pertaining in any way to Catholic 
principles. In Bossuet s famous Exposition de la Doctrine 
Catkolique, written expressly to explain the fundamental 
Catholic Dogmas to men of other Communions, he 
had spoken of " the authority of the Holy See and of 
the Episcopate," thus acknowledging a double power. 2 
He said that it was not necessary to speak of matters 
disputed in the theological schools because they formed 
no part in the Catholic Faith. And this Exposition 
was published with papal approbation. 3 It had been 
singularly effective in commending the Roman Church 
to its opponents, and in gaining their submission. But 
if it was known that the Pope resented these principles, 
still more, if he openly ventured to condemn them as 
errors approximate to heresy, Protestant converts could 
hardly fail to retort : We submitted to the Church on 
the distinct assertion that no Catholic was required to 

1 Bossuet, t. xxi. p. 129 2 Ibid. vol. xiii. pp. 103, 104. 

3 Ibid. p. 104. 




believe either in the Infallibility of the Pope or in his 
right to depose kings. 1 In that case we have been 
misguided and deceived. It is, exclaimed thoughtful 
French Catholics looking across to England, precisely 
these doctrines which are the principal cause of the 
persecution of Catholics there. 2 

The publication of Bossuet s great work in 1745 
may have given considerable strength to Catholicism 
in France of an Anti-Roman type ; but other treatises 
show that the clergy of France were being persistently 
trained in similar ideas. The theological principles 
inculcated with the authority of the Archbishop of 
Lyons in 1784 in the seminaries of his diocese include 
the following propositions : The Roman Pontiff even 
when speaking ex cathedra, in matters of faith and 
morals, can be deceived ; Bishops possess jurisdiction 
direct from Christ and not from the Roman Pontiff; 
the authority of the Roman Pontiff is inferior to that 
of a General Council. The principles taught at the 
same period in the diocese of Rouen were similar. 8 

1 Guettee, Histoire dc V Eglisc de France^ xi. p. 94. 

2 Ibid. p. 95. 

3 Sicard, L Ancien Clergt de France, i. p. 425, n. 



THE struggle of Catholic versus Ultramontane in the 
Roman Communion in England finds forcible expres 
sion in the famous letter of the distinguished Roman 
Catholic layman, Sir John Throgmorton, in 1790: 

" He laid stress," says a Roman writer, " on the fact 
that ever since the day of Pius V. s excommunication 
of Elizabeth, the English Catholics have been divided 
into two parties. The " Papistic " party, on the one 
hand, upheld and maintained all the pretensions of the 
Court of Rome, and were supported by all the influence 
of that Court, sometimes by briefs from the Popes 
themselves. . . . The other party consisted and still 
consists of the descendants of the old Catholic families, 
and a respectable portion of the clergy who, true to the 
religion of their ancestors, have uniformly . . . protested 
against the usurped authority of the Court of Rome. 
He denied that the original cause of the difference 
the question whether or no the Pope had the power 
to depose sovereigns represented adequately the dis 
tinction between the two parties. The deposing power 
was no longer maintained by any one ; but the 
* Papistic party still remained, and taught the Infalli 
bility of the Pope and urged all his claims. He called 
on English Catholics to dissociate themselves from this 
party and its teaching." 1 

1 Quoted in W. Ward s Life of Wiseman^ i. p. 513. 

9 8 


The London Romanist clergy selected a Bishop of 
Catholic as opposed to Ultramontane convictions. 
Rome refused, however, to accept their selection, and 
the English Catholics submitted. Here is an illustration 
of the method by which the older principles were to be 
suppressed. 1 Nevertheless the older principles remained. 
The Roman body in England continued to maintain its 
anti-Roman ideas. This appears incontestably in their 
appeal to Parliament for removal of their political dis 
abilities, under which they had suffered terribly since 
the days of Elizabeth. These political disabilities were 
the Nemesis of the unfortunate action of the Papacy 
against Queen Elizabeth, and of the theories on the 
relation between spiritual and temporal power advocated 
by Roman writers of that period. The penal laws 
against the Roman Communion in England were the 
product of fear, being in design defensive against political 
results of Roman teaching. However, in course of time, 
none too soon, nobler and juster counsels began to pre 
vail, and the time approached when all the impartial 
desired the removal of restrictions and penalties which 
were formed on principles of brutality and retaliation 
happily growing obsolete. But to secure the removal of 
penal legislation, it was necessary for the Romanists in 
England to reassure the public opinion that they were 
not bound by. theories from Rome irreconcilable with 
English loyalty. 

When accordingly in the year 1788 a Committee 
of English Romanists was formed to appeal to Parlia 
ment for the removal of Roman disabilities, 2 the 
petitioners declared that it was a duty which they 
owed to their country, as well as themselves, to protest 
in a formal and solemn manner against doctrines which 

1 Quoted in W. Ward s Life of Wiseman^ i. p. 515. 

a See Butler, Historical Memoirs of the English Catholics , vol. ii. p. 1158". 


constituted no part of their principles, religion, or belief. 1 
Among these they rejected the theory that excom 
municated princes may be deposed or murdered by 
their subjects. They declared that no ecclesiastical 
power whatever can absolve subjects from allegiance to 
lawful temporal authority. 2 They wrote : " We believe 
that no act that is in itself immoral or dishonest can 
ever be justified by or under colour that it is done 
either for the good of the Church or in obedience to 
any ecclesiastical power whatever." 3 And what now 
particularly concerns us here they said : " We acknow 
ledge no Infallibility in the Pope." 

This protestation of the Roman Catholics of England 
brought about the passing of the Relief Act of 1791. 
The representative character of the document may be 
realised from the fact that it was signed by all the 
four Vicars Apostolic ; that is by all the highest 
Roman authorities in England, by 240 priests; and 
in all by 1,523 members of the Anglo-Roman body, 
among whom most of the educated and influential 
laity were included. It would be interesting to 
ascertain what proportion the 240 priests bore to the 
total number of Roman clergy in this land. Accurate 
statistics are not easily obtained. The Committee of 
English Romanists claimed that the total number 
of Roman priests in England did not exceed 260. 
Berington, in 1780, estimated the number as nearer 
360, of whom 1 10 were ex- Jesuits. From these figures 
it would appear that, if the Jesuits are left out, nearly 
the whole body of Roman Clergy in England, including 
their four Bishops, committed themselves frankly to 
rejection of Papal Infallibility. 4 

1 See Butler, Historical Mtmoirs of the English Catholics , vol. ii. p. 117. 

2 Ibid. p. 1 1 8. 3 Ibid. p. 119. 
4 Bernard Ward, Dawn of the Catholic Revival > i. p. 151. 


Dr Milner describes it, indeed, as " drawn up in 
ungrammatical language, with inconclusive reasoning 
and erroneous theology." 1 And a vicar apostolic who 
first signed it afterwards withdrew his signature. 2 On 
the other hand, an influential section of the Communion 
placed the document in the British Museum, "that it 
may be preserved there as a lasting memorial of their 
political and moral integrity." 3 

The history of Irish Roman belief is similar. An Act 
for their relief was passed in 1793. It contains an oath 
which states that " it is not an article of the Catholic 
Faith, neither am I thereby required to believe or profess 
that the Pope is infallible." 4 

In an address to Protestants of the United Empire in 
1813 by a Roman Catholic writer (Charles Butler), anti- 
Roman prejudice is reassured by the terms of the oath 
taken by Irish Roman Catholics : 5 "In the oath taken 
by the Irish Roman Catholics they swear that it is not 
an article of the Catholic faith, and that they are not 
thereby bound to believe or profess that the Pope 
is infallible. " 6 

No less unmistakable is the language of a Roman 
Catholic Bishop in England in 1822 : 

" Bellarmine and some other divines, chiefly Italians, 
have believed the Pope infallible, when proposing ex 
cathedra an article of faith. But in England or Ireland 
I do not believe that any Catholic maintains the Infalli 
bility of the Pope." 7 

The Pastoral Address of the Irish Bishops to their 
clergy and laity in 1826 declared that it is "not an 

1 Cf. Husenbeth s Life of Milner, p. 23. 2 Ibid. p. 24. 

1 Cf. Gladstone, Vaticanism, p. 47. 4 Ibid. p. 48. 

3 Gladstone, Vaticanism, p. 218, 6 Ibid. p. 230. 

7 Bishop Baine s Defence, quoted in Gladstone, Vaticanism, p. 48. 


article of the Catholic faith, neither are they thereby 
required to believe that the Pope is infallible." 1 

Accordingly, a Roman Catholic nobleman, Lord 
Clifford, writing to reassure the English peers on the 
Maynooth Endowment Bill, could say in 1845: "It 
is not an article of Catholic faith that the Pope is 
infallible even in matters of faith." 2 

There is not the slightest reason to doubt the sincerity 
of the Romanist statements. They were not misrepre 
senting their convictions to improve their circumstances. 
They genuinely believed these principles. They claimed 
as Catholics an independence from Romanising views. 

When Dr Wiseman (afterwards Cardinal) was nomin 
ated by the Pope to the London District in 1847, 
nearly all the clergy, says Wilfred Ward, " were 
sufficiently imbued by the conservative and national 
spirit to be opposed to his energetic scheme of reform." 3 
They viewed with distaste his " Romanising " proclivities. 
Trained in the College in Rome, having spent years 
under the Pope s immediate direction, Wiseman returned 
to England bent on propagating that " papistic spirit " 
against which the older English Roman Catholics, as 
represented by Sir John Throgmorton, had so vigorously 
protested. 4 The introduction of the Jesuit and other 
religious Orders was Wiseman s work, and it was re 
pugnant to the temper and prejudices of the old 
Romanist families in England. But Rome approved, and 
Wiseman persisted. Then came the re-establishment 
of the Roman Hierarchy in England, the elevation of 
Wiseman to the Cardinalate, and his return to England 
as Archbishop of Westminster. Then the Tractarian 
movement gave new life to the Anglican Church ; but 

1 Gladstone, Vatican Decrees, vol. xliii. ed. 1875* 

2 Letters to the Earl of Winchelsea, p. 15. 

3 Life of Wiseman, i. p. 515. * Ibid. p. 512. 


it also contributed new distinction and new strength to 
the Roman Communion. Converts like Faber threw 
themselves, with the convert s proverbial intensity, into 
the most extreme of Roman devotions, legends, and 
principles ; much to the amazement and disgust of the 
old-fashioned Romans, who found themselves regarded 
with coldness and indifference, as half- Catholic, at 
Rome, while the zealous converted extremists basked 
in the sunshine of Rome s approval. There is no little 
irony in the situation. The Vicar Apostolic of the 
London district warned Newman on his conversion 
against " books of devotion of the Italian School." l 
Faber reproduced the most Italianised lives of the 
saints. Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham, himself of 
old Roman family, considered these Italian compositions 
unsuited to this country. Newman, as Superior of the 
Oratory, wrote to Faber, describing them as " unsuited 
to England and unacceptable to Protestants." 2 Accord 
ingly the publications ceased. But Wiseman s exertions 
to promote Ultramontanism within the Roman Com 
munion continued, and were most successful. Here is 
a letter of approval written to the Cardinal from 
influential quarters in Rome : 

" I can say that you have been the instrument under 
God, to Romanise England. . . . You have been able 
to change the whole feeling of the rising clergy, and 
to instil into the laity what Roman principles they 
possess." 3 

But if Wiseman " changed the feeling of the rising 
clergy," this was not done without desperate struggles 
on the part of the older clergy. Wiseman, whose 
insight into human nature was of the scantiest, chose 

1 Life of Wiseman^ ii. p. 221. 

* Ibid. p. 223. 8 1859. 


as his coadjutor, with the right of succession, Bishop 
Errington. Errington belonged to the older school. 
The Chapter of Westminster agreed with him. Accord 
ingly Wiseman found himself opposed by the Chapter, 
with the Coadjutor-Bishop as their leader. The contest 
which followed was, says Wilfred Ward, " the turning 
point in the controversy between the conservative 
policy and that of the new Ultramontanism." l It 
was no merely personal struggle, but a struggle of 
principles. On the other side, Wiseman pushed forward 
Manning, whom the Pope sent from Rome and placed 
as Provost over the entire Chapter of Westminster. 

Into the details of the struggle we cannot go. But 
Errington and Manning fought for opposing principles. 
Manning, says Wilfred Ward, with his " fixed ideas and 
firm determination." 2 As to Errington : " iron deter 
mination and persistency were stamped on face and 
figure." " Both men of strong will with utterly opposite 
ideals and aims." 3 Errington had none of the tactful 
discretion of the diplomatist in his constitution, and 
was no match for the subtlety of Manning. And 
ultimately, on Wiseman s appeal to Rome, Errington 
was removed by the Pope from the position of Coadjutor, 
and lost his right of succession to the Archbishopric of 
Westminster. The main charge against him was that 
he was anti - Roman in sympathies. 4 Great was the 
rejoicing among the Ultramontanes at this victory. 
The succession of Bishop Errington was their greatest 

" I cannot conceive a greater misfortune," wrote a high 
authority from Rome to Cardinal Wiseman, " than your 
being followed by Dr Errington, who, I feel certain, if 
he ever become Archbishop of Westminster, will do all 

1 Life of Wiseman, ii. p. 321. 
2 Ibid. ii. p. 265. * Ibid. p. 254. 4 Ibid. p. 332. 


he can to undo what has been done, and will be a 
constant source of annoyance to the Holy See." l 

Father Faber wrote in similar strains : 

" If [Dr Errington] returns to Westminster as Arch 
bishop, the Holy See will have to reckon that it will 
take fifty, if not a hundred, years to restore England 
to the pitch of Ultramontanism which she has now 
reached." 2 

On Wiseman s death the older Catholic party made 
one more struggle for supremacy. The Chapter of 
Westminster, notwithstanding that Manning presided, 
longed for a Bishop of the older school. Accord 
ingly, their then selected candidates were Bishop 
Errington, Bishop Grant, and Bishop Clifford. The 
insertion of Errington s name was considered by the 
Pope as a personal insult. In the interests of their own 
aims it was certainly unwise ; for it rendered the Pope 
disinclined to listen to any of the Chapter s suggestions. 3 
As for Bishop Clifford, Manning denounced him in a 
private letter to Rome as a worldly Catholic, i.e. 
opposed to the Ultramontanes ; and he sided against 
Infallibility afterwards in the Vatican Council. As for 
Bishop Grant, Manning wrote : 

" I cannot for a moment even fear that the Holy See 
would accept any one of these names. 1 wish," added 
Manning, conscious of the critical nature of the struggle 
for the future of Ultramontanism in England, " I wish 
that the Holy Father would reserve the Archbishopric 
in perpetuity to the Holy See. For it is perfectly 
certain that whoever comes, it is a question of a change 
of policy. It is Tories out and Whigs in, with all the 
consequences." 4 

1 Life of Wiseman^ p. 331. 
8 Life of Manning^ ii. p. 206. 

2 Ibid. p. 370. 
4 Ibid. 


Manning s prophetic instinct proved correct. Pius IX. 
paused, reflected, took advice, and ultimately, not how 
ever without considerable misgivings, set aside all three 
of the Chapter s nominations, and on his own authority 
appointed Manning. 1 Now Manning led the English 
Ultramontanes in the Council of the Vatican. 

But the task of Romanising the English Catholics 
was no easy thing. The literature of the Roman 
Communion in England and Ireland during the 
eighteenth and early nineteenth century shows how 
thoroughly saturated they were with Catholic as con 
trasted with Ultramontane convictions. It is difficult to 
obtain that literature in its genuine and original form 
to-day; for of course all works reprinted since 1870 
have been altered into conformity with Vatican ideas. 
In some cases the process of reducing to conformity 
was begun at an earlier date. It is therefore with 
works printed before 1870 that we are now concerned. 

i. For example, in the well-known Roman manual of 
theology by Berrington and Kirk, entitled the Faith of 
Catholics^ confirmed by Scripture, and attested by the 
Fathers of the first five centuries with St Vincent s 
maxim on the title-page (" that which has been believed 
always everywhere," etc.) we find the following 
teaching on Infallibility : 

" It is no article of Catholic Faith to believe that the 
Pope is himself infallible, separated from the Church, 
even in expounding the Faith : by consequence, Papal 
definitions or decrees, in whatever form pronounced, 
taken exclusively from a General Council or acceptance 
of the Church, oblige no one under pain of heresy to an 
interior assent" 2 

This teaching, found in the edition of 1830, now 

1 1865. 2 Page 165. 


2. Delahogue was Professor in Dublin where his theo 
logical works were published in several volumes in 
1829. The type of instruction then given in an Irish 
seminary to students of Roman theology may be 
understood from the fact that Delahogue asserts that 
the doctrine that the Roman Pontiff, even when he 
speaks ex cathedra^ is possessed of the gift of inerrancy 
or is superior to General Councils may be denied 
without loss of faith or risk of heresy or schism. 

To justify this position appeal is made among others 
to Cardinal Perron who, although himself a supporter 
of the doctrine of papal inerrancy, assured King 
James I. that the question was not a hindrance to 
Ecclesiastical Reunion ; since whichever view his 
Majesty might adopt he would none the less on either 
side be recognised as Catholic. 

Delahogue appealed also to the fact that no reference 
to Papal Infallibility occurs in the Creed of Pius IV. 
Bossuet s famous exposition affirmed that matters dis 
puted in the schools of theology, and invidiously 
brought forward by Calvinistic doctors, were no part 
of the Catholic Faith ; and Bossuet s Exposition was 
endorsed by a brief of Innocent XI. Delahogue also 
pointed out that inferences from the figurative com 
parison of the relation between the Pope and the 
Church to that between the human head and body 
must be drawn with discretion. The effect of decapita 
tion upon the human body differs from that of the 
death of a Pope upon the Church. Indeed the latter 
is essentially the same in spite of a long interregnum, 
or a schism, or a doubtful succession of forty years. 
Similarly, it does not follow that an ex cathedra 
fallacious utterance would be the Church s ruin. 

3. De Lisle, who was received into the Roman Com 
munion at the age of fifteen, in 1825, was moulded in 


the Roman convictions as held in England at that date. 
Forty years later he recorded his faith in the following 
words : 

" We are far from claiming for the Papacy any separate 
Infallibility distinct from that which all Catholics are 
bound to believe in, as the prerogative of the Universal 
Church. Those who make so novel a claim must 
reconcile it with the grave facts of ecclesiastical 
history. . . . And we believe that with those facts 
undenied and not disproved it would be impossible for 
the Church to define any such theories to be articles of 
faith." 1 

The following year De Lisle repeated his convictions 
on Infallibility in a letter to Father Ryder, afterwards 
Superior of the Birmingham Oratory. 

" I will tell you my own belief, as to that attribute 
of Holy Church, which a learned Bishop pronounced 
accurate and orthodox. First of all, I believe Infallibility 
to be a conjunctive and collective attribute of the whole 
Catholic Church according to the words of Holy Church in 
her Collect, God by whose Spirit the whole body of the 
Church is governed and sanctified. In other words, the 
infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit is given to the 
whole Church in its collective capacity, to the Laity 
as well as the Clergy. To the latter especially in their 
collective capacity as the teachers. To the former as 
the recipients of that teaching, giving them an instinctive 
apprehension of what is or is not in conformity with 
the traditional teaching of the Church. Now in this 
view of the matter, no one, whether pastor or layman, 
has any separate personal gift of the infallible guidance 
of the Holy Spirit, but it is given to all collectively 
in order to enable them safely to keep and rightly to 
apprehend the Deposit of Faith. . . . Now it follows 
from my view that all Catholics from the Pope down 
wards to the meanest baptized layman all are under 

1 Ambrose Lisle Phillipps, Union Review, May 1866, p. 95. 

x.] MILNER 109 

the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, as long as 
all, in their respective positions, whether as Teachers 
or Believers, are acting and believing according to the 
unchangeable Deposit, for the preservation and right 
understanding of which the power of binding and loosing 
and of feeding the whole flock has been conferred upon 
the supreme Pastor." 1 

4. Milner s End of Religious Controversy was written to 
explain the Roman tenets to Protestants and to remove 
misapprehensions. 2 

"When any fresh controversy arises in the Church, 
the fundamental maxim of the Bishops and Popes to 
whom it belongs to decide upon it, is, not to consult 
their own private opinion or interpretation of Scripture 
but to enquire what is and ever has been the doctrine of 
the Church concerning it. Hence their cry is and ever 
has been on such occasions, as well in her Councils as 
out of them : So we have received ; so the Universal 
Church believes: let there be no new doctrine; none but 
what has been delivered down to us by Tradition. 
The Infallibility, then, of our Church is not a power 
of telling all things past, present, and to come, such 
as Pagans ascribed to their oracles ; but merely the 
aid of God s Holy Spirit to enable her truly to decide 
what her faith is and has ever been, in such articles 
as have been made known to her by Scripture and 
tradition. This definition furnishes answer to divers 
other objections and questions. . . . The Church does 
not decide the controversy concerning the Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin, and several other disputed points, 
because she sees nothing absolutely clear and certain 
concerning them, either in the written or the unwritten 
word, and therefore leaves her children to form their 
own opinions concerning them. Finally his Lordship, 
with other controversialists, objects against the Infalli 
bility of the Catholic Church, that its advocates are 
not agreed where to lodge this prerogative, some 

1 1867. De Lisle, Life, ii. pp. 36, 37. 

2 Milner, End of Religious Controversy , ed. 2, 1819, p. 150. 


ascribing it to the Pope, others to a General Council, 
or to the Bishops dispersed throughout the Church. 
True, schoolmen discuss some such points ; but let 
me ask his Lordship whether he finds any Catholic 
who denies or doubts that a General Council, with 
the Pope at its head, or that the Pope himself, issuing 
a doctrinal decision which is received by the great 
body of Catholic Bishops, is secure from error ? Most 
certainly not, and hence he may gather where all 
Catholics agree in lodging Infallibility." 

Milner s view of Catholicism is that if we would 
know what is of faith, we must ask what is and ever 
has been the doctrine of the Church. A dogma cannot 
be something new. It must be what has been universally 
believed from the beginning. Tried by this test, he 
finds that the Immaculate Conception is an opinion, not 
a doctrine of the Church; that individuals are free to 
form their own opinion concerning it, because there 
was nothing absolutely clear and certain about it either 
in the written or the unwritten word ; that Papal 
Infallibility was a matter of scholastic discussion, a 
theory of theologians, but that the Infallibility of the 
Church was a matter which no Catholic doubted. 

5. Gallitzin s rejection of Papal Infallibility is even 
more emphatic. 

" Although I have plainly told the Protestant minister 
that the Infallibility of the Pope is no part of the 
Catholic Creed, a mere opinion of some divines, an 
article nowhere to be found in our professions of faith, 
in our creeds, in our catechisms, etc., yet the Protestant 
minister most ungenerously and uncandidly brings it 
forward, over and over again, as an article of the 
Catholic faith; and takes his opportunity from this 
forgery of his own to abuse the Catholic Church." l 

1 Gallitzin, Defence of Catholic Principles. See Papal Infallibility, by a 
Roman Catholic layman, 1876, p. 16. 


6. Another exposition of the Roman faith for English- 
speaking people is the famous book called Keenaris 
Catechism. It is entitled Controversial Catechism, or 
Protestantism Refuted and Catholicism Established. 
The edition of 1860 is described as the third edition, 
and in its seventeenth thousand. It bears the im 
primatur of four Roman Bishops, two of them being 
Vicars Apostolic. In these approbations we are assured 
that "the sincere searcher after truth will here find a 
lucid path opened to conduct him to its sanctuary ; 
while the believer will be hereby instructed and con 
firmed in his faith." From 1846 to 1860 it was being 
largely circulated throughout England, Scotland, and 

The book contains the following question and 
answer : 

Must not Catholics believe the Pope in himself 
to be infallible? 

(A.) This is a Protestant invention: it is no article 
of the Catholic faith : no decision of his can oblige 
under pain of heresy, unless it be received and enforced 
by the teaching body, that is by the bishops of the 

Keenaris Catechism has since 1870 appeared with 
alterations. The new edition is, as the preface justly 
remarks, "more than a mere reprint." As issued in 
1896, it rightly styles itself a "revised edition." The 
question and answer just quoted have of course now 
disappeared. They are replaced by a series of ten 
enquiries, with answers giving exactly the contrary 
doctrine. The first of these runs as follows : 

What do Catholics believe concerning the 
Infallibility of the Pope ? 

(A.) That the visible Head of the Church on earth 
received from Christ the same prerogative of Infalli- 


bility which we have shown above to be necessary 
to and belong to the Church by divine institution." 1 

Thus what was formerly denounced as a Protestant 
invention is now affirmed as a Catholic truth. 

The earlier revisers of Keenarts Catechism contented 
themselves with quiet substitution of the new doctrine 
for the old without further explanation. But the later 
revisers have felt that something more was necessary 
to justify the change. Accordingly they inserted the 
following : 

" ((20 But some Catholics before the Vatican Council 
denied the Infallibility of the Pope, which was also 
formerly impugned in this very Catechism. 

(A.) Yes ; but they did so under the usual reservation 
* in so far as they then could grasp the mind of the 
Church, and subject to her future definitions thus 
implicitly accepting the dogma; had they been pre 
pared to maintain their own opinion contumaciously 
in such case they would have been Catholics only in 

That is to say, that teaching endorsed by Catholic 
Bishops is delivered under the reservation that the 
opposite may be true ; that this is the usual reserva 
tion, applicable therefore to all Episcopal teaching ; 
that no certainty exists in the Roman Communion 
whether instruction now being given as Catholic may 
not be upset and reversed by some future definition ; 
(in which case what is its authoritative value and its 
relation to truth?) and that the Roman Bishops who 
endorsed Keenan s first edition implicitly accepted the 
dogma which they explicitly denied. I am most 
anxious not to exaggerate. But this seems an 
intellectual and a moral confusion. There is some 
thing wrong with a cause which requires such a defence. 

1 Page in. 


But this is not all. For the revised edition goes on to 
enquire, " Were there any other dogmas defined by the 
Church which had been controverted before decision ? " 
This is answered in the affirmative. " Nearly every 
definition of dogma by the Church had been preceded 
by a period of controversy, in which theologians ranked 
themselves on different sides." Then the question is 
asked : 

" (Q.) Can you name any Controversies on fundamental 
dogma on which the Church pronounced in the same 
way as she did on Papal Infallibility at the Vatican 
Council ? 

(A.) Yes. The Divinity of Christ was not formally 
defined till the first Council of Nicsea (325)." 

Some other instances having been given, we then reach 
the Question 

" (Q-) What do you conclude from these observations ? 

(A.) That the definition of the Infallibility of the 
Pope as a dogma of primitive Christian Revelation has 
historically run a course similar to the definition of 
many other fundamental articles of the Catholic Faith." 

The implications of this assertion are worth consider 
ing. A parallel is drawn between the attitude of 
Catholics towards the two doctrines of Papal Infalli 
bility and of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. They have 
historically, it is said, run a similar course. Now we 
ask just this : Were those Bishops who endorsed 
Keenaris Catechism Catholics or not? There is only 
one possible reply : Yes, they were. They lived and 
died in the Communion of the Roman Church. It 
was then possible to be a Catholic before 1870 and 
yet deny this doctrine of Papal Infallibility. But was 
it ever possible to be a Catholic while denying the 
other doctrine, the Divinity of Jesus Christ? There 
is only one answer that can be given. Assuredly it 



was not. Explicit denial of the Divinity of our Lord 

must indisputably ipso facto exclude from Catholicity, 

and must have had this effect at any stage in the 

development of Christendom. Consequently the parallel 

between the course which these two doctrines have 

historically pursued is simply misleading and untrue. 

Indeed the assertion grievously misrepresents the 

evidence. A real parallel would require that as the 

doctrine of Papal Infallibility was disputed by Roman 

Catholics for many hundreds of years, and openly 

described as a mere opinion of the Schools which might 

be taken or left without detriment to Catholicity indeed 

controversially deprecated as an invention of opponents, 

ungenerously and uncandidly ascribed to the Catholic 

Church, while its acceptance and rejection were both 

tolerated by the Church itself similar experience 

awaited the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. But 

not one iota of this holds good with the Divinity of 

Christ. Our Lord s Divinity was never disputed by 

Catholics, never openly described as a mere opinion 

of the schools; its rejection never was or could be 

tolerated by the Church for a single hour. No doubt 

there were imperfect expressions in the ante-Nicene 

period, but there was no silence on this doctrine in 

the primitive Church. The Arian was not an implicit 

Catholic, inwardly prepared to accept what he outwardly 

denied. Nor would he have been grateful for this 

explanation of his attitude. He never was a Catholic 

at all. Moreover, if the character of the two doctrines 

be considered, it is inevitable to ask whether the doctrine 

of Papal Infallibility is fundamental in the Christian 

Faith. If it be fundamental after the Church has 

defined it, it was fundamental before the definition. 

A doctrine does not become fundamental through the 

Church s definition, but through its own intrinsic char- 


acter. It therefore remains unaccounted for that a funda 
mental of the Christian Faith should be described as a 
Protestant invention, and such description sanctioned 
by Catholic Bishops, and tolerated by Rome. 

It is really incredible that a critically or historically 
trained intellect could venture on so daring and un- 
historic a parallel. Such uncritical defence not only 
fails to secure its design, but suggests an insecurity 
in the Church s belief in the Divinity of her Lord. 
Such defence is necessitated by the school which is 
constrained to condemn what it previously taught, and 
to teach what it once condemned ; but the necessity for 
such defence betrays the character of the doctrine which 
requires it. 

The historical evidence, which might be considerably 
increased, shows that English Romanists in general did 
not hold Papal Infallibility even as a private opinion ; 
that, on the contrary, they maintained principles by 
which that opinion is excluded ; that they believed 
in the Infallibility of the Church, but placed that Infalli 
bility in the Collective Episcopate whether assembled 
or dispersed. 

7. Even in the great College of Maynooth itself an 
Irish Roman Catholic Professor could publish as late 
as 1 86 1 such words as these: 

" That the Universal Church is infallible in its belief 
and profession of faith, that the body of pastors is 
infallible in teaching, are two dogmas of Catholic faith, 
That the Infallibility of the Chief Pontiff is a revealed 
truth, and therefore definable, as of Catholic faith, is to 
me personally perfectly clear. Nevertheless, since it 
belongs to the Church alone to determine what is 
essential to belief, and since that dogma has never yet 
been in that manner proposed to be believed, they who 
genuinely hold the contrary are by no means or only 


in the least degree (unless indeed some other ground be 
shown) to be considered alien from the Catholic Faith." l 

Here we have striking indications of a change. The 
Ultramontane influence is recognised, although not 
submitted to ; Papal Infallibility is acknowledged as a 
private opinion of the teacher, but the contrary opinion 
is, with reserve, recognised to be legitimate. This utter 
ance from Maynooth becomes more intelligible when 
it is remembered that Cardinal Cullen, trained in Rome 
and nominated Primate of Ireland by Pius IX., was now 
presiding over that Communion in Dublin. Cullen, 
says Ollivier, responded admirably to the confidence 
which Pius IX. placed in him. 2 

"The Romanised Cullen," says another, "whom the 
Pope forced as Primate on the Irish Bishops, with the 
same view as he imposed Manning on the English 
Bishops, is of course an Infallibilist." 3 

Journalism in England took no unimportant part in 
the struggle between Catholic and Ultramontane. That 
most paradoxical extremist, the convert Ward, was 
appointed by Wiseman in 1862 editor of the Dublin 
Review.^ Ward s ideal in his Roman days was spiritual 
dictatorship of the most absolute character. 5 He said 
he wanted pontifical decrees every morning for break 
fast with his newspaper. And Manning encouraged 
him. Manning shut his eyes to Ward s exaggerations 
and rejoiced in his uncompromising tone. 

" What we need," he wrote, " is incisive assertion of 
the loftiest truths. I am persuaded that boldness is 
prudence, and that our danger lies in half truths." 6 

1 Murray, Tractatus d& Ecclesia Christ, ii. (l), p. 171. 

2 Ollivier, LEglise et UEtat. ii. p. 9. s Quirinus, p. 290. 
4 Thureau Dangin, ii. p. 336. 6 Ibid. p. 343. 

x.] LORD ACTON 117 

So blessed and sanctioned, Ward went straight ahead. 
The Ultramontanism of the Dublin Review must have 
been gall and bitterness to the old-fashioned English 

While Ward and the Dublin Review, supported by 
Manning, pushed papal absolutism to the furthest 
extremes, Lord Acton and the series of journals with 
which he was connected, such as the Rambler and the 
short-lived but brilliant Home and Foreign Review, 
recalled the Catholic mind to the facts of History. 
Abbot Gasquet s estimate of the Dublin Review and 
the Rambler is significant. 

" The Dublin Review and the Rambler were conducted 
upon lines wholly divergent. In historical matters the 
policy of the Diiblin Review appears to have been to 
avoid as far as possible facing unpleasant facts in the 
past, and to explain away, if it could not directly deny, 
the existence of blots in the ecclesiastical annals of the 
older centuries. The Rambler, on the other hand, held 
the view that the Church had nothing to lose and much 
to gain by meeting facts as they were." * 

The refusal to face the facts, the resolve to manipulate 
them in the interests of edification, was characteristic 
of an extensive controversial school of which the Dublin 
Review was a vigorous and extreme exponent. It was 
done deliberately, on principle, prompted by a profound 
distrust of history. Lord Acton s criticisms 2 on this 
uncritical method of advancing truth are inimitable. 

" A particular suspicion rested on history, because, as 
the study of facts, it was less amenable to authority and 
less controlled by interest than philosophical specula 
tion. In consequence partly of the denial of historical 
certainty, and partly of the fear of it, the historical study 

1 Gasquet, Lord Acton and his Circle, p. xxxix. 

8 " Ultramontanism," Home and Foreign Review, iii. p. 173, 1863. 


of dogma in its original sources was abandoned, and the 
dialectical systematic treatment preferred." 1 

As to the treatment of History: " First, it was held, 
the interests of religion, which are opposed to the study 
of history, require that precautions should be taken to 
make it innocuous where it cannot be quite suppressed. 
If it is lawful to conceal facts or statements, it is equally 
right to take out their sting when they must be brought 
forward. It is not truth, but error, which is suppressed 
by this process, the object of which is to prevent a false 
impression being made on the minds of men. For the 
effect of those facts or statements is to prejudice men 
against the Church, and to lead them to false con 
clusions concerning her nature. Whatever tends to 
weaken this adverse impression contributes really to 
baffle a falsehood and sustain the cause of truth. The 
statement, however true in its own subordinate place, 
will only seem to mislead in a higher order of truth, 
where the consequences may be fatal to the conscience 
and happiness of those who hear it without any qualifica 
tion. Words, moreover, often convey to the uninstructed 
mind ideas contrary to their real significance, and the 
interpretation of facts is yet more delusive. . . . For 
the object is not the discovery of objective truth, but 
the production of a right belief in a particular mind. 
... It is the duty of the son to cover the shame of his 
father ; and the Catholic owes it to the Church to 
defend her against every adverse fact as he would 
defend the honour of his mother. He will not coldly 
examine the value of testimony, or concede any point 
because it is hard to meet, or assist with unbiassed 
mind in the discovery of truth before he learns what 
its bearing may be. Assured that nothing injurious 
to the Church can be true, he will combat whatever 
bears an unfavourable semblance with every attainable 
artifice and weapon." 2 

1 " Ultramontanism," Home and Foreign Review, p. 175. 

2 Ibid. p. 177. 


An Anglican writer has given us a terse expression of 
the same idea : The Deity, we are told, cannot alter 
the past. But the ecclesiastical historian can and 
does. 1 

With all the instinct of self-preservation, the Ultra 
montane mistrusted and resented the historical School. 
Cardinal Wiseman wrote in a Pastoral 2 a severe 
denunciation of the journal which Acton edited. To 
the Cardinal, the Home and Foreign Review seemed 
characterised by "the absence for years of all reserve 
and reverence in its treatment of persons or of things 
deemed sacred." He wrote with great severity on what 
appeared to him its " habitual preference of uncatholic 
to Catholic instincts, tendencies, and motives." 

Acton 3 admitted in his reply that " a very formidable 
mass of ecclesiastical authority and popular feeling 
was united against certain principles or opinions which, 
whether rightly or wrongly, are attributed to us." He 
then proceeded to give an account of the principles 
which ought to govern the attitude of Catholics towards 
modern discoveries. 

" A political law or a scientific truth may be perilous 
to the morals or the faith of individuals, but it cannot 
on this ground be resisted by the Church. It may at 
times be a duty of the State to protect freedom of 
conscience, yet this freedom may be a temptation to 
apostasy. A discovery may be made in science which 
will shake the faith of thousands, yet religion cannot 
refute it or object to it. The difference in this respect 
between a true and a false religion is, that one judges 
all things by the standard of their truth, the other 
by the touchstone of its own interests." 4 

1 Inge, Truth and Falsehood in Religion, p. 41. 

2 Cf. Bishop Ullathorne. Letter on the Rambler, 1862, p. 3. 

3 Acton, History of Freedom, p. 446, Ibid. p. 449. 


And this led Acton to pronounce a severe criticism 
on methods of defence prevalent in the Roman Catholic 
Church of the day. He said that in reaction from 
the unscrupulous attacks of the eighteenth century, 
a school of apologists had arisen dominated by the 
opinion that nothing said against the Church could 
be true. Their only object was defence. " They were 
often careless in statement, rhetorical and illogical in 
argument, too positive to be critical and too confident 
to be precise." "In this school," he continues, "the 
present generation of Catholics was educated." And 
he complains that " the very qualities which we condemn 
in our opponents, as the natural defences of error, and 
the significant emblems of a bad cause, came to taint 
both our literature and our policy/ Meanwhile, learning 
had passed on beyond the vision of such apologists, and 
the apologists have, so far as effectiveness is concerned, 
collapsed before it. 

" Investigations have become so impersonal, so colour 
less, so free from the prepossessions which distort truth, 
from predetermined aims and foregone conclusions, that 
their results can only be met by investigations in which 
the same methods are yet more completely and con 
scientiously applied." x 

Resort to suppressive methods is, Acton was pro. 
foundly persuaded, suicidal as well as immoral. It 
argues either a timid faith which fears the light, or 
a false morality which would do evil that good might 
come. " How often have Catholics involved them 
selves in hopeless contradiction, sacrificed principle to 
opportunity, adapted their theories to their interest, 
and staggered the world s reliance on their sincerity 
by subterfuges which entangle the Church in the 

1 Acton, History of Freedom, p. 452. 


shifting sands of party warfare, instead of establishing 
her cause on the solid rock of principles ! " l 

This noble appeal was unfortunately denounced 
by Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham in a Pastoral 
wholly devoted to its refutation. What particularly 
disturbed the Bishop s mind was the distinction which 
Acton drew between a true and a false religion : that 
one judged all things by the standard of their truth, 
the other by the touchstone of its own interests. It 
appeared to Ullathorne 2 that 

"to say that the Church cannot refute or object to 
a discovery which will shake the faith of thousands ; 
meaning thereby to deny her right to examine that 
discovery after her own methods, and by the union of 
science with faith in her theology, to ascertain whether 
and how far that discovery be true, ... is to deny 
to the Church her mission to prove all things, and to 
hold fast that which is good. It is to deny her 
the mission of teaching to avoid oppositions of science 
falsely so called, and of protecting those thousands of 
souls from having their faith shaken by the erroneous 
deductions which men of science are too apt to draw 
from those real discoveries which can never conflict 
with faith." 

Thus was Acton misunderstood. And Bishop 
Ullathorne concluded by condemning the journal as 
"containing propositions which are respectively sub 
versive of the faith, heretical, approaching to heresy, 
erroneous, derogatory to the teaching of the Church, 
and offensive to pious ears." 3 

Notwithstanding this severe rebuke Acton continued 
to persevere. 

The suppression of Lord Acton s brilliant but short 
lived Home and Foreign Review ilustrates the restraints 

Acton, History of Freedom, p. 454. 2 Pastoral (l%62\ p. 9. 

3 Ibid. p. 42. A.D. 1862= 


imposed upon an independent historian by the necessity 
of submission to the opinions of Roman Congregations, 
such as that of the Index. It was in the year 1863, when 
his periodical was some four years old, that Pius IX. 
issued a Brief to the Archbishop of Munich in which he 
affirmed that 

" it is not enough for learned Catholics to receive 
and venerate the dogmas of the Church, but there is 
also need that they should submit themselves to the 
doctrinal decisions of the pontifical congregations." 

This Papal Brief made no reference to Lord Acton 
or to the Home and Foreign Review^ but it vitally 
affected the principles upon which that periodical had 
been throughout its short existence of four years con 
ducted. For its principles were these : 

" To reconcile freedom of enquiry with implicit faith, 
and to discountenance what is untenable and unreal, 
without forgetting the tenderness due to the weak, or 
the reverence rightly claimed for what is sacred. Sub 
mitting without reserve to infallible authority, it will 
encourage a habit of manly investigation on subjects 
of scientific interest." 

This means a claim for freedom in the province of 
opinion, and a right to the fearless assertion of historic 
truth. But how was it possible to reconcile that freedom 
with the literary decisions of such a Congregation as 
that of the Index? Consequently Lord Acton wrote 
a signed article in the Review, bearing the significant 
title, " Conflicts with Rome." It is written with admir 
able self - command and dignity, with the frankest 
confession of loyalty to truth from whatever sources 
derived, and under a solemn sense of the impossibility 
of reconciling the encroachment of Roman Authority 
with the independence essential to historic science. In 


a powerful sketch of the case of Lamennais, he shows 
how the extreme assertion of unlimited authority easily 
led by reaction to total loss of faith ; and how the dis 
paragement of human reason in the supposed interests 
of authority really undermines the foundation upon 
which all things human that authority itself included 
must necessarily rest. On the other side he draws 
a striking picture of the general attitude of Roman 
authority toward modern thought. He says, that in 
dealing with literature 

"the paramount consideration of Rome had been 
the fear of scandal. Historical investigations, if they 
offered perilous occasion to unprepared and unstable 
minds, were suppressed " upon which he remarks 
that "the true limits of legitimate authority are one 
thing, and the area which authority may find it ex 
pedient to attempt to occupy, is another. The interests 
of the Church are not necessarily identical with those 
of the ecclesiastical government. One of the great 
instruments for preventing historical scrutiny had long 
been the Index of Prohibited Books, which was accord 
ingly directed, not against falsehood only, but particularly 
against certain departments of truth. Through it an 
effort had been made to keep the knowledge of ecclesi 
astical history from the faithful, and to give currency to 
a fabulous and fictitious picture of the progress and 
action of the Church. The means would have been 
found quite inadequate to the end, if it had not been 
for the fact that, while society was absorbed by con 
troversy, knowledge was only valued so far as it served 
a controversial purpose. Every party in those days 
virtually had its own prohibitive Index, to brand all 
inconvenient truths with the note of falsehood. No 
party cared for knowledge that could not be made 
available for argument." 

This suppression of uncongenial fact was less possible 
in the German Universities, where the Roman Catholic 


teacher was placed amidst perfect freedom of enquiry, 
and where " the system of secrecy or accommodation was 
rendered impossible by the competition of knowledge 
in which the most thorough exposition of the truth 
was sure of the victory." The teacher in this environ 
ment "was obliged often to draw attention to books 
lacking the Catholic spirit but indispensable to the 
deeper student." The condition of things in Italy 
and in Germany was widely different. 

" While in Rome it was still held that the truths of 
Science need not be told if, in the judgment of Roman 
theologians, they were of a nature to offend faith, in 
Germany Catholics vied with Protestants in publishing 
matter without being diverted by the consideration 
whether it might serve or injure their cause in con 
troversy, or whether it was adverse or favourable to 
the views which it was the object of the Index to 

Yet for a while Rome had tolerated many things. 
" Publications were suffered to pass unnoted in Germany, 
which would have been immediately censured if they 
had come forth beyond the Alps or the Rhine." 
German philosophers were indeed denounced at Rome, 
but German historians escaped censure. The reason 
was, according to Lord Acton, plain : 

"The philosopher cannot claim the same exemption 
as the historian. God s handwriting exists in history 
independently of the Church, and no ecclesiastical 
exigence can alter a fact. The divine lesson has been 
read, and it is the historian s duty to copy it faithfully 
and without ulterior views." 

But this toleration of independence in the realm of 
facts was now abruptly terminated by authority. The 
Pope s letter to the Archbishop of Munich affirmed 


the view that Catholic writers are not bound only by 
those decisions of the Infallible Church which regard 
articles of faith. They must also submit to the theo 
logical decisions of the Roman congregations, and to the 
opinions which are commonly received in the schools ; 
and it is wrong, though not heretical, to reject those 
decisions or opinions. 

In a word, therefore, the Brief affirms that the common 
opinions and explanations of Catholic divines ought 
not to yield to the progress of secular science, and that 
the course of theological knowledge ought to be con 
trolled by the decrees of the Index. Confronted with 
this Declaration of Authority, Lord Acton professed 
himself resolved " to interpret the words as they were 
really meant, and not to elude their consequence by 
subtle distinctions, to profess adoption of maxims 
which no man who holds the principles of the Review 
can accept in their intended signification." In this 
Brief " It is the design of the Holy See not, of course, 
to deny the distinction between dogma and opinion, . . . 
but to reduce the practical recognition of it among 
Catholics to the smallest possible limits." 

Consequently, the question arose, what future was 
possible for the Home and Foreign Review ? Continued 
existence on unaltered principles meant reiteration of 
principles denounced at Rome. 

"The periodical reiteration of rejected propositions 
would amount to insult and defiance, and would 
probably provoke more definite measures ; and thus 
the result would be to commit authority yet more 
irrevocably to an opinion which might otherwise take 
no deep root, and might yield ultimately to the influence 
of time." 

That this change of mind on the part of authority 
would be anything else than the far-off outcome of a 


process indefinitely slow, Lord Acton did not for a 
moment suppose. He acknowledged that the line 
taken by Pius IX. expressed the general sentiment of 
the large majority of Catholics of the age. And in 
Lord Acton s view of the case, if new truth is to gain 
recognition from authority, it 

" must first pervade the members in order that it 
may reach the head. While the general sentiment of 
Catholics is unaltered, the course of the Holy See 
remains unaltered too. As soon as that sentiment is 
modified, Rome sympathises with the change. The 
ecclesiastical government, based upon the public opinion 
of the Church, and acting through it, cannot separate 
itself from the mass of the faithful, and keep pace with 
the progress of the instructed minority. It follows 
slowly and warily, and sometimes begins by resisting 
and denouncing what in the end it thoroughly adopts. 
. . . The slow, silent, indirect action of public opinion 
bears the Holy See along, without any demoralising 
conflict or dishonourable capitulation. This action it 
belongs essentially to the graver scientific literature to 

Meantime, Lord Acton s lot is cast in the period 
when truth is resisted and denounced. Hitherto for 
bearance has been extended to the minority. But this 
is the case no longer. " The adversaries of the Roman 
theory have been challenged with the summons to 

" In these circumstances, there are two courses which 
it is impossible to take. It would be wrong to abandon 
principles which have been well considered and are 
sincerely held, and it would also be wrong to assail the 
authority which contradicts them. The principles have 
not ceased to be true, nor the authority to be legitimate, 
because the two are in contradiction." 


Accordingly, Lord Acton s practical solution is as 
follows : 

" Warned, therefore, by the language of the Brief, I 
will not provoke ecclesiastical authority to a more 
explicit repudiation of doctrines which are necessary 
to secure its influence upon the advance of modern 
science. ... I will sacrifice the existence of the Review 
to the defence of its principles, in order that I may 
continue the obedience which is due to legitimate 
ecclesiastical authority with an equally conscientious 
maintenance of the rightful and necessary liberty of 

From that date accordingly the Home and Foreign 
Review ceased to exist. The expiration of a periodical 
may be an exceedingly small incident in literary 
activity, but the principles involved in this incident 
are of primary importance. Lord Acton s indomitable 
belief in the ultimate prevalence of historical truth, 
when the present tyranny of ignorance should be over 
past, is worthy of all regard. The dignified surrender, 
coupled with frank reassertion of unaltered conviction, 
is most significant. He bows to an authority which 
has trangressed its limits, and which rejects to-day 
what it must of necessity at length believe. His 
theory that the truth must pervade and possess the 
members in order that it may reach the head, must 
have sounded strangely in Italian ears. A silence 
explicitly self-imposed, lest authority, if further pro 
voked, should commit itself irrevocably to positions 
fatal to its own best interests, is impressive and pathetic ; 
but certainly it suggests thoughts on the limits of 
authority incompatible with Ultramontane assump 
tions. While this subsiding into silence would prevent 
the irretrievable mischief of imprudent authoritative 
declarations, it would, at the same time, delay the 


enlightenment of the ignorant majority, and so delay 
the enlightenment of the head. Worse still, such 
silence, if widespread, must disable the Church from 
meeting the needs of modern thought, and from coping 
with, still more from guiding, the educated world. 
Wherever the system of secrecy and accommodation is 
rendered impossible, by the competition of knowledge 
in which the most thorough exposition of the truth 
is sure of the victory, there such methods as those 
advocated in the Brief, or practised in submission to 
its dictation, must be fatal to the Church s wider 
influence. We may reverence the individual self- 
suppression, but nothing can be more profoundly dis 
couraging than the fatal conflict of authority with 
historic truth. Even Lord Acton s faith could only 
hope that authority might ultimately acknowledge the 
principles upon whose suppression it was for the present 
actively engaged. Thus the Church, in his view, was 
committed to a fruitless conflict with truths to which 
it must at last surrender. It was destined evermore to 
oppose all truth for which the ignorance of the majority 
precluded recognition ; to silence its prophets and here 
after adorn their sepulchres ; to denounce as injurious 
what it would one day embrace as true ; if, indeed, the 
slowly increasing enlightenment of the general body of 
the devout shall ultimately remove the prejudices of the 
head. Certainly the prospect was scarcely one to cheer. 
It shows impressively the tremendous strain which the 
encroachment of authority over the province of opinion 
placed upon the faith of its noblest sons. 

Bishop Ullathorne viewed the successive collapse of 
Acton s journals with a natural satisfaction. 

" The unsound taint," he wrote, " was brought to 
England by certain young laymen, pupils of Dr Dollinger 

x.] LORD ACTON 129 

or others associated with him, and exhibited itself in 
the later numbers of the Rambler after it passed into 
their hands, in the Home and Foreign Review, the North 
British Review, and the Chronicle. But the Catholics 
of this country repelled the poison, and these publica 
tions dropped rapidly one after another into their 
grave." 1 

Meanwhile, on the other side, Ward s ambition was 
to demonstrate "how extensive is the intellectual 
captivity imposed by God on every loyal Catholic." 2 
And there is no possibility to doubt which of the two 
schools was congenial to Roman authority. For the 
editor of the Dublin Review was rewarded with 
expressions of papal approval, while Lord Acton s 
literary ventures were one after another brought to 
untimely ends. 3 But the thing that flourished, the 
work upon whose eccentricities and extravagances 
Roman authority looked with favour, was the Apolo 
getic of Ward in the Dublin Review. Utterly 
unhistorical as it assuredly was, more Ultramontane 
than Rome itself, carrying recent development to 
unprecedented excess, and exhibiting exactly those 
characteristics of wilful blindness to uncongenial facts 
which roused so justly Acton s moral indignation, 
Ward s Essays were nevertheless the approved and 
sanctioned type of Roman doctrine and Roman defence 
offered for the edification and guidance of Roman 
Catholics in this land. There is something exceedingly 
tragic in the suppression of Acton s plea for sincerity 
and moral rectitude, coupled with the encouragement 
given to the reckless and painfully superficial utterances 
of the Dublin Review. 

The English Romanists as a body were scared by 

1 Expostulation , p. 5. 

2 Essays on the Church s Doctrinal Authority, pp. 20, 34. 

3 Cf. Church Times, 26th July 1907. 


Ward s extravagance. And to none were his methods 
more repugnant than they were to John Henry 
Newman. By a singular grace, Newman escaped the 
convert s proverbial temptation that of carrying new 
beliefs to all possible extremes. He had affinities with 
the Dublin Review and with Lord Acton s Journals. 
But he was keenly conscious of the defects of both. 
He thought the one lacking in regard for authority, 
; the other in reverence for fact. He was very far from 
identifying himself with either. 

When Ward attempted to enlist Newman in his Infalli 
bility campaign, Newman s characteristic sincerity did 
not attempt to conceal the repugnance with which he 
viewed the proposal. 

"As to writing a volume on the Pope s Infallibility 
it never so much as entered into my thought. I am 
a controversialist, not a theologian, and I should have 
nothing to say about it. I have ever thought it likely 
to be true, never thought it certain. I think, too, its 
definition inexpedient and unlikely ; but I should have 
no difficulty in accepting it, were it made. And I 
don t think my reason will ever go forward or back 
ward in the matter." 1 

But Newman despaired of inducing his fellow 
Romanists to attend to history. 

" Nothing would be better," he wrote, " than a 
historical review. But who would bear it? Unless 
one doctored all one s facts one would be thought a 
bad Catholic. The truth is, there is a keen conflict 
going on just now between two parties one in the 
Church, one out of it ; and at such seasons extreme 
views alone are in favour, and a man who is not 
extravagant is thought treacherous. I sometimes think 
of King Lear s daughters, and consider that they, after 

1 1866, Thureau Dangin, iii. p. ill ; Purcell, Manning^ ii, p. 321. 


all, may be found the truest who are in speech more 
measured." l 

Hence it was that Ward s vehement and exaggerated 
Ultramontanism drew down upon him one of the 
severest rebukes which Newman perhaps ever wrote. 
He told Ward that it was wholly uncatholic in spirit, 
and was constituting a church within the Church. 
Ward comically observed that after such a letter he 
must take a double dose of chloral if he meant to 

Newman also wrote a reassuring letter to Pusey, 
expressing his belief that there was no fear of a decree 
of Papal Infallibility, except in so limited a form as 
practically to leave things as they were. 2 But when 
the Vatican Council was already met, and the pro 
babilities that the dominant party might succeed in 
reducing to fixity what had hitherto been a theological 
opinion, at the most, became more and more convincing, 
Newman wrote to his Bishop in a very different and 
very anxious strain : 

"Why should an insolent, aggressive faction be 
allowed to make the heart of the just sad, whom the 
Lord hath not made sorrowful ? I pray those early 
doctors of the Church whose intercession would decide 
the matter (Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome ; Athanasius, 
Chrysostom, and Basil) to avert this great calamity. If 
it is God s will that the Pope s Infallibility be defined, 
then it is God s will to throw back the times and 
moments of the triumph which He has destined for 
His kingdom, and I shall feel that I have but to bow 
my head to His inscrutable Providence." 3 

1 See Guardian article, 6th June 1906, from the Month of January 1903. 

2 Life of Pusey y iv. p. 128. 

3 Standard^ 7th April 1870 ; Salmon, Infallibility, p. 22 ; Thureau 
Dangin, iii. p. 124. 


This memorable sentence, the most memorable of 
any from the Roman Communion in England, was 
written in the full confidence of privacy to his own 
Diocesan, Ullathorne, Roman Bishop of Birmingham. 
Somehow it came to light, and appeared in the public 
press. The publication, never explained, has been 
called a culpable indiscretion. 1 But whatever it be 
called, it assuredly represents the writer s most profound 
conviction, uttered with perfect frankness. Here, as to 
his Father in Christ, he reveals his soul. Trusted and 
confided in as he was by individuals on either side 
within the Roman body ; by Ward and Faber on the 
one hand, and by Lord Acton on the other ; profoundly 
intimate with modern thought and religious conceptions 
beyond the Roman pale ; he anticipates disastrous con 
sequences to the Church, and to the world, if the 
Infallibility theory be decreed. 

Bishop Ullathorne 2 would undoubtedly receive this 
confidence with perfect sympathy. For, although a 
believer of the doctrine, he had himself, as a student, 
been taught the opposite at Downside. Indeed, his 
own fidelity to Ultramontane ideas was so challenged 
that he thought it advisable to seek a special interview 
with the Pope, and assure him, at the time of the 
Vatican Decrees. But, naturally, Newman s letter not 
only produced a great sensation when it appeared 
in the public press ; it also deepened the distrust 
with which the partisans of Infallibility regarded him. 
We can well understand how one who wrote with 
so manifest an anxiety to stand by the historic past, 
and to avoid extremes, was regarded with suspicion 
from Rome by pronounced and uncompromising 

1 Thureau Dangin, iii. p. 124. 

2 Autobiography, p. 41. Cf. Purcell, Manning, ii. p. 439. 


As always in great movements, so with the doctrine 
of Papal Infallibility, much depended on commanding 
personalities. And no figure in the conflict of 1870 
is more conspicuous than that of Archbishop Manning. 
It was not for his learning or intellectual depth or piety 
that he held so remarkable a place in promoting 
Ultramontane opinions. But there is no doubt that, 
whether outside the Council or within, he arrested 
universal attention. No man was more completely 
: identified with the doctrine than he ; and identified 
with it in its extremest form. No paradox alarmed 
him ; he shrank from no inference, however strange. 
Bellarmine would have been proud of him as in many 
ways a worthy successor to his own a priori methods. 
It is impossible to mistake the temperament which pro 
duced the two famous Pastorals launched by Manning 
for the instruction of English Romanists in 1867 and 

He has already, and this is very significant, formulated 
the doctrine practically in the same phrases in which 
it appeared in the Vatican Decree : " Declarations of 
the Head of the Church apart from the Episcopate 
are infallible." 1 "Judgments ex cathedra are, in their 
essence, judgments of the Pontiff apart from the 
episcopal body, whether congregated or dispersed." 2 

This doctrine, he is certain, the Church has always 
believed and taught. History awakens no doubts, 
creates no problems, to Manning s mind. Everywhere 
he contemplates, both exercised and admitted, papal 
inerrancy. His theory is that the stages of the doctrine 
have been three : simple belief, analysis, definition. In 
the first period, belief in the Church s and the Pope s 
inerrancy pervaded all the world. Thus he thinks that 
the condemnation of Pelagianism by Innocent I. (418) 

1 Pastoral (1867), p. 23. 2 Ibid. (1869), p. 142. 


was regarded as infallible from the first moment of 
its promulgation. As for Honorius, there is not the 
slightest reason for misgivings : " heretical he could 
not be." We have his letters. They prove his 
Catholicity. The papal acts of the primitive ages 
imply infallibility, according to Manning, " and in 
almost all cases explicitly declare it." 1 The exercise of 
authority is everywhere to him Infallibility. Thus the 
Archbishop presented the English Romanist with a 
sketch of the first ages pervaded by a calm, unchallenged 
faith in the Pope s Infallibility. 

The second period in the doctrine s progress is 
that of analysis and contention. And here Manning 
pours unqualified contempt on the Gallican view. 
Gallicanism was Manning s peculiar and special 

" Gallicanism," he said, " is rationalism ; that which the 
Gospel cast out ; that which grew up again in mediaeval 
Christendom. Gallicanism is no more than a transient 
and modern opinion which arose in France, without 
warrant or antecedent, in the ancient theological schools 
of the great French Church ; a royal theology, as 
suddenly developed and as parenthetical as the Thirty- 
nine Articles ; affirmed only by a small number out of 
the numerous Episcopate of France. . . . 

" To this may be added, that the name of Bossuet 
escaped censure only out of indulgence, by reason of 
his good services to the Church : and that even the 
lawfulness of giving absolution to those who defend 
the Gallican Articles has been gravely questioned." 2 

In Manning s view of history, Gallicanism was a 
disease engendered by the corruptions of the old 
French Monarchy. 

The third period in the progress of Infallibility is the 

1 Pastoral (1867), p. 40. 2 Ibid. p. 41. 


period of definition. This is certain to come. It is 
merely a question of time. 

Thus, according to Manning, the doctrine of Papal 
Infallibility is no more of an innovation than the 
doctrine of our Lord s Divinity at Nicaea. It is true 
that he is conscious of a possible objection lurking 
in suspicious minds. 

" If any one shall answer that these evidences do not 
prove the Infallibility of the Pope speaking ex cathedra, 
they will lose their labour. 

" I adduce them," he continues, " to prove the im 
memorial and universal practice of the Church in 
having recourse to the Apostolic See as the last and 
certain witness and judge of the Divine tradition of faith." 

But Manning s real interests were not in endeavours 
to ascertain what history declares. The sole duty of 
the believer was absolute submission to the authority 
of the existing Church, irrespective of past teachings. 
The assumption that what is taught to-day corresponds 
with what always has been, was made, and must not 
be challenged. Hence the famous identification of 
history with heresy, for which Manning made himself 
responsible. His assurance of the doctrine is so un 
assailable that he can scarcely tolerate the enquiry, 
Is it true ? 

" The question is not," he writes, " whether the 
doctrine be true, which cannot be doubted ; or defin 
able, which is not open to doubt ; but whether such a 
definition be opportune, that is, timely and prudent." l 

Or again, more emphatically still if possible 

"With the handful of Catholics who do not believe 
the Infallibility of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, speaking 

1 Pastoral (1867), p. 119. 


ex cathedra, we will not now occupy ourselves. But 
the opinion of those who believe the doctrine to be 
true, but its definition to be inopportune deserves 
full and considerate examination." 

That the doctrine is opportune, said Manning, followed 
at once from the fact that it was true. God has revealed 
it. " Can it be permitted to us to think that what He 
has thought it opportune to reveal, it is not opportune 
for us to declare ? " If it be said that many revealed 
truths are not defined, Manning answers, Yes, but 
"this revealed truth has been denied." " If the Infalli 
bility of the visible Head of the Church had never been 
denied, it might not have been necessary to define it 
now." Thus the prospect of a coming definition is 
held in terrorem over the heads of any who do not 
silently acquiesce in the doctrine being taught. Man 
ning could scarcely ignore the fact that this denial of 
Infallibility was no new thing in the Roman Church. 
His answer to this is equally significant. 

" We are told by objectors that the denial is far more 
ancient and widespread : that only makes the definition 
all the more necessary." 1 " In England, some Catholics 
are stunned and frightened by the pretentious assump 
tion of patristic learning and historical criticism of 
anonymous writers, until they doubt, or shrink in false 
shame from believing a truth for which their fathers 
died." 2 

One would like to know how this sounded to the old 
Catholic families of England, to Bishops such as 
Errington or Clifford, to those whose fathers had 
assured the English Government on oath that Papal 
Infallibility formed no part of the faith of Catholics. 

Manning indeed saw a host of practical reasons why 

1 Pastoral (1867), p. 40 2 Ibid. p. 41. 


the inerrancy doctrine should be decreed : because this 
truth has been denied ; because, if not decreed, the 
error will henceforward appear to be tolerated, or at 
least left in impunity ; because this denial of what 
Manning called " the traditional belief of the Church " 
was an organised opposition to the prerogatives of 
the Holy See ; " because it is needed to place the 
Pontifical Acts of the last 300 years, both in declaring 
the truth, as in the dogma of the Immaculate Con 
ception, and in condemning errors, as in the long series 
of propositions condemned in ... Jansen and others, 
beyond cavil or question " ; because it was openly said 
that the pastors of the Church are not unanimous, 
therefore " it is of the highest moment to expose 
and extinguish this false allegation, so boldly and 
invidiously made by heretics and schismatics of every 

The dogma was necessary also to justify the believer s 
attitude toward the Pope. Faith, argued Manning, 
requires the Infallibility of the teacher of truth. If the 
teacher be fallible, our certainty cannot be Divine. If 
the Pope be fallible, we cannot be certain that the 
doctrines propounded by him the Immaculate Con 
ception, for instance are of faith. "The treatise of 
Divine Faith is therefore incomplete so long as the 
Infallibility of the proponent is not fully defined." 

Thus a theoretical system requires completion which 
nothing but this dogma can give ; for which, there 
fore, this dogma must be created. Moreover, Manning 
scorns what he calls " the incoherence of admitting a 
supremacy and denying its infallible action." We 
have here a reminiscence of De Maistre. There is 
the same theorising tendency. Two dominant ideas 
are found throughout. The one, that the doctrine is 
required to secure the completion of an a priori view. 


The other, that it will be practically a singularly use 
ful asset. Therefore we must have it. It is not the 
theologian, it is the ecclesiastical statesman who speaks 
in this. The centralisation of power, concentrated in 
one supreme individual, easily accessible, prompt to 
reply, was Manning s ideal. He contrasted it with 
the slow, deliberate method of Universal Assemblies- 
Errors would have time to spread, with fearful rapidity, 
before this heavy machinery could be brought effec 
tively into operation. Statesmen would frustrate its 
assembling. If the Pope be personally infallible, apart 
from the Episcopate, " why," asks Manning quite 

"why is he bound to take a means which demands 
an Ecumenical Council, or a world-wide and protracted 
interrogation, with all the delays and uncertainties of 
correspondence, when, by the Divine order, a certain 
means in the Apostolic See is always at hand ? " 

Assertion vigorous, uncompromising, sweeping 
was not only the bent of Manning s disposition ; it was 
also cultivated on principle. What the English people 
wanted, according to the Archbishop of Westminster, 
was neither compromise nor accommodation. " Down 
right truth, boldly and broadly stated, like the ring 
of true metal, wins their confidence." When Gladstone 
described him as " the oracle," Manning replied, " He 
shall not find me ambiguous." Thus he prided him 
self on the quality of aggressive speech. Among his 
favourite phrases is the term " it is certain." Six 
times in one page, applied to all manner of things 
historical interpretations, future probabilities, indis 
criminately. No shade of distinction exists. There 
might be no such thing conceivable as hesitation in the 


universe. He seems to grow, if possible, increasingly 
sharp, incisive, uncompromising, as his words speed on. 

" The Ultramontane opinion is simply this, that the 
Pontiff, speaking ex cathedra on faith or morals, is 
infallible. In this there are no shades or moderations. 
It is simply aye or no." 

Of qualifications, of restrictions, nothing is said. It is 
all sweepingly universal. Yet with all his heart, he 
says, he desires to find a mode of conciliation "but 
not a via media which is the essential method of false 
hood." Of the philosophic temper, the balancing of 
opposing truths, the holding truths unreconciled, through 
faith in their ultimate yet hitherto undiscovered syn 
thesis, there is not a shadow in these amazing Pastorals. 

Nothing can surpass the confidence with which 
Manning expressed his ideas of the work which the 
Council would effect. 

" It is certain that upon a multitude of minds who 
are wavering and doubtful . . . the voice of a General 
Council will have great power. The Council of Trent," 
he tells us, " fixed the epoch after which Protestantism 
never spread. The next General Council will probably 
date the period of its dissolution." l 

Not less singular, especially when read in the light of 
Manning s incessant polemical correspondence on the 
doctrine, is the picture which he has drawn of the state 
of the Roman Church in this crisis. 

There is universal excitement, he says, in the outer 
world, caused by the assembling of the Council at 
Rome ; " not, indeed, within the unity of the Catholic 
Church, where all is calm in the strength of quiet and 

1 Pastoral (1867), p. 90. 


of confidence, but outside in the political and religious 
world " the calm of the Dublin Review , for instance, 
and the passionate rhetoric of Ward. 

Manning further predicts that if this doctrine were 
defined, it would be at once received throughout the 
world with "universal joy and unanimity." Nothing 
can prove more clearly than these words how com 
pletely the theory with which he was identified fired 
his imagination, and warped his judgment. 

Manning entirely failed to carry the English Romanists 
with him. The English Bishops at Rome elected Grant, 
not Manning, as their candidate for the Commission of 
Faith. And the Archbishop was adopted by the Italians. 
He complained of his English colleagues, that " of those 
who ought to have defended Infallibility not one spoke. 
The laity were averse and impatient. They would not 
read." 1 Some, however, did read, among them Lord 
Acton, who characterised those Pastorals as " elaborate 
absurdities." They were read also by De Lisle, who was 
amazed at Manning s theory on the case of Honorius. 

" Archbishop Manning denies that Honorius fell into 
heresy, but in denying this he appears to me to injure 
the Catholic cause, for he denies history, and what is 
worse, sets himself up against a General Council which 
is universally received, and which in this very particular 
was solemnly confirmed by Pope Leo II., Honorius s 
next successor but one." 2 

Most significant is the contrast of type between 
Manning and Newman within the Communion of Rome. 

" Manning," says Thureau Dangin, " like other con 
verts in the ardour of their new faith, and in reaction 
against the Protestant spirit from which he had escaped, 
considered that he could not go too far in conceptions 

1 Purcell, ii. p. 454. 2 Life of De Lisle, ii. p. 73. 


designated * Ultramontane. The personal attractive 
ness of Pius IX., who manifested a fatherly confidence 
in him, the authority which thus accrued to him in the 
government of the Church, the storm of controversy 
before and after the Vatican Council all confirmed 
him in this attitude. He was more concerned to extend 
Infallibility than to determine its limits. He seemed to 
make it a duty of conscience and a point of honour to 
offend the English Catholics by presenting in uncom 
promising terms precisely those features of Italian 
doctrine which scandalised them most. He was well 
aware of his unpopularity, and consoled himself with 
an application of the text, If I pleased men I should 
not be the servant of Christ." 

However, Manning pleased men, at least in Rome, 
where the larger sympathies of Newman were most 
distasteful, and where a hardy official went so far as to 
describe him as more Anglican than the Anglicans, and 
the most dangerous man in England. 

Meanwhile Manning is found denouncing the English 
Jesuits to Rome as sympathisers with a watered version 
of Catholicism. Thus the Roman Catholics in England 
were being thoroughly schooled in Ultramontanism, and 
the Jesuits themselves Romanised by a convert from 
another Church. 

The conclusions to which our investigations lead 
are : that the Roman Communion in England during 
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was Catholic 
in sentiment as opposed to Ultramontane ; that the 
process of change was wrought by Italian influence, 
imposing Italianised Bishops upon a reluctant com 
munity, and by the suppression of the organs of 
independent thought, especially those which did not 
revise the facts of history in the interests of edification ; 
that this conversion of the Roman body to Ultra 
montane ideas necessitated a rewriting of the English 


Roman literature, which was done on a very extensive 
scale, and constantly without any acknowledgment of 
the changes introduced into the author s opinions ; that 
this process of infiltration was vigorously resisted, and 
continued incomplete down to the Council of 1870, in 
which Irish and English Bishops openly opposed the 
theories of papal prerogatives which their Italianised 
rulers had laboured to force upon them. 



I. A POWERFUL if unintentional contribution to 
Ultramontanism was Napoleon s reconstruction of the 
French Episcopate. 

The nineteenth century found the Church of France 
in a desperate condition. Overthrown by the Revolu 
tion, and deprived of its possessions and its sanctuaries, 
many of its Royalist Bishops were refugees in England 
from a form of government which they abhorred ; and 
the Pope himself (Pius VI.) died, a captive of the 
Revolution, in French territory (I799). 1 But with the 
new century Napoleon rose to power. He saw that, in 
spite of the dominant Atheism, France was Catholic at 
heart ; and resolved upon a restoration of the Catholic 
Church. Accordingly he sided with the Papacy. But 
since the exiled prelates were notoriously hostile to 
the Revolution, being zealous adherents of the old 
Monarchy, he was convinced that their readmission 
would provoke social disorder and irreconcilable strife. 
On this ground he required Pope Pius VII. to make 
a clean sweep of the entire French Episcopate, either by 
their resignation or their deprivation. 2 This was to be 
followed by a complete reconstruction of the dioceses, 
and reappointment to the newly-constituted Sees. Fifty 

1 Jervis, iii. p. 323. 2 Ibid. 



diocesan Bishops were henceforward to exist, together 
with twelve Archbishops, while more than half the 
ancient Gallican Episcopate was to be entirely swept 
away. Against this revolutionary proposal Pius VII. 
protested, but he protested in vain. The master of 
France was inexorable, and Pius was compelled to 
yield. Cardinal Consalvi, 1 the Papal Secretary, says that 
he vainly urged that the deposition of one hundred 
French Bishops without condemnation was unpre 
cedented in the annals of Christendom, that nothing 
could be more ruinous to the famous Gallican liberties. 
But the iron will of Napoleon broke through all re 
monstrances, and the Pope was compelled to require 
the French Bishops to place their resignation in his 
hands. 2 

Some complied. Some delayed and temporised. 
Others refused. The refugees in England replied that, 
holding their episcopal commission from the Holy 
Spirit, who had constituted them rulers in the Church 
of God, they could not submit to the Pope s require 
ments. 3 Nevertheless, their existence was ignored, 
and the combined power of Pius VII. and Napoleon 
Bonaparte carried this ecclesiastical revolution into 

Napoleon reserved to himself the right of appoint 
ment to the newly constituted Sees. 4 This unpre 
cedented act of supreme authority 5 was, of coursCj 
altogether distinct from Infallibility ; but it formed a 
precedent for almost limitless submission, and promoted 
a spirit of resignation to authority, which afterwards 
exhibited itself in the province of dogmatic truth, and 
contributed indirectly not a little to the passing of the 

1 Consalvi, Memoires, i. p. 345. 2 Jervis, p. 363. 

3 Ibid. p. 373. 4 Ibid. p. 362. 

5 Lord Acton calls it "the most arbitrary act ever done by a Pope." 
Hist. Freedom, p. 323. 


Vatican Decree. It also shook the whole constitution 
of the Church of France. Its effect on Gallican ideas 
was naturally great. 

The French Minister Ollivier goes so far as to 
maintain that the Roman Court, in spite of its persistent 
efforts, would only have secured uncertain advantage if 
the French Revolution had not come to its aid. 1 

But still down to 1870 the French Government 
retained in its control the right of nominating the 
Bishops. And this right it exercised independently of 
the papal desires. Pronounced Gallicans were elevated 
to the Episcopate in spite of Pius IX. s objections. At 
times, when his concurrence was delayed, pressure was 
instantly brought to bear from France. And that 
pressure it was not prudent to resist ; for at that period 
France was the protector of the Papacy. 

It is sometimes said that the old Gallicanism perished 
in the French Revolution. This is misleading. The 
Church and the Monarchy had stood together, and 
the overthrow of the one broke the power of the 
other. In the altered circumstances the papal claim 
over monarchs became practically impossible. It was 
never denied at Rome, but it was not asserted. It 
was left discreetly in the background, and consequently 
the old Gallican political protest became meaningless. 
But the old spiritual principles were re-affirmed in 
France in 1820 by Cardinal de la Luzerne with not less 
vigour and frankness than in the days of Bossuet 

The independence of the temporal power from 
papal authority, says Cardinal Luzerne, 2 is a question 
which he does not intend to discuss. Not because he 
has the slightest doubt upon the subject ; on the 
contrary, the complete independence of the temporal 
power is of all the Gallican maxims that to which 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 280. 2 Works (Migne s ed.), ii. 14. 



he is personally most strongly attached. He deplores 
from the depth of his heart that the Popes ever asserted 
the opposite principle. Their pretensions have been 
disastrous to the Catholic Church, and particularly so 
to the Holy See. But his reason for not discussing 
the subject is that the Gallican principle finds hardly 
any opponents even in Italy. Since Italian writers 
do not attack it there is no need to defend. 

But on the question of Papal Infallibility he feels 
constrained to express his strong adhesion to the 
Gallican doctrine. 1 The partisans of Infallibility affirm 
that when the Pope, taking the necessary precautions, 
speaks officially, he is infallible, and his decisions are 
unalterable laws for all the Church. That is the 
Ultramontane opinion. We, on the contrary, says 
Cardinal Luzerne, do not believe the Holy Father to 
be infallible. We believe that when he acts as Pope 
his decisions ought to be respected ; but his dogmatic 
decrees, however worthy of regard, are not infallible, 
and only exact an outward submission, but not an 
inward assent until they are endorsed by the accept 
ance of the Universal Church. Papal decisions have 
weight some more, some less. They are not equal 
in authority, and none of them are infallible. The 
Ultramontane system, that the Pope is infallible when 
he speaks officially, sins against the truth in the essential 
point of novelty. 2 Gallicanism, if it had a political side, 
was essentially ecclesiastical and spiritual. Its political 
interest was to protect the rights and claims of a 
national Church. It regarded the Church of each people 
as a definite entity, although of course merged in the 
unity of the Universal Church. But this was not the 
fundamental principle of the Gallican idea. The heart 
and centre of their contention lay in the rights of the 

1 Works, ii. p. 37. 2 Ibid. p. 38. 


Collective Episcopate, as contrasted with the claims of 
the Papacy. And the whole of the struggle which 
issued in the Vatican Assembly of 1870 was a struggle 
between these two conceptions of spiritual authority. 

The extent to which the old Gallican principles pre 
vailed in France of the early nineteenth century 
may be gathered from Bergier s Theological Dictionary, 
which was the French popular encyclopedia of theo 
logy, and obtained a great circulation. 

u Infallibilist The name sometimes given to those 
who maintain that the Pope is infallible, that is to 
say, that when he addresses to the entire Church a 
dogmatic decree, a decision on a point of doctrine, it 
cannot happen that this decision should be false or 
subject to mistake. This is the ordinary opinion of 
Ultramontane theologians." x 

Then after summarising Bossuet s teaching, the article 
concludes that, since it is an essential function of the 
pastors of the Church to witness to the universal faith, the 
witness of the sovereign Pontiff taken by itself cannot 
produce the same degree of moral certitude which 
results from a very considerable number of concurrent 
witnesses. As head of the Universal Church, the 
sovereign Pontiff is undoubtedly well informed as to 
the general belief and is its principal witness ; but his 
witness, united to that of a vast multitude of Bishops, 
possesses quite a different force than when it is alone. 

2. There were the Ultramontane writers in France, 
who contributed vastly to the propagation of Roman 

One of the pioneers of Ultramontane development 
was Joseph de Maistre. Connected for some time 

1 Bergier, Dictionnaire de Thfrlogie (1850). 


in the first half of the nineteenth century with the 
Court of St Petersburg, he had all the instincts of the 
diplomatist ; and his religious ideal was to see modern 
Christian society under the absolute control of the 
political papal dictatorship of the Middle Ages. 
Manning once ventured the remark that Gratry was 
no theologian. It has been said with far more accuracy 
that De Maistre was neither an historian nor a 
theologian, but rather one who transferred to the 
province of ecclesiastical control the principles and 
methods of diplomatic procedure. He was a man of 
remarkable vigour and pertinacity ; a man of logic in 
his way, pushing relentlessly to extreme conclusions 
on the basis of a brilliant assumption ; audacious in his 
assertions, and confident with an unsurpassed serenity. 

The movements of modern thought, the aspirations 
towards larger freedom, were to De Maistre thoroughly 

" The audacious race of Japhet," he writes, " has never 
ceased to advance towards what it describes as liberty ; 
that is, towards a state in which the governed is 
governed as little as possible, and is always on guard 
against its masters." 

Such was his attitude towards European progress 
and development. This was written in 1844, and may 
doubtless be partly explained by the time ; but this 
was the spirit in which he approached the doctrine 
of papal authority. And the method in which he 
attempted to advance the Ultramontane opinions may 
be gathered from such examples as the following. 

If the Gallican School set the Council above 
the Pope, as the final judge in matters of faith, 
De Maistre entirely depreciates the significance of 
Ecumenical Councils. His estimate of their value as 


compared with his valuation of the Papacy is almost 
contemptuous. Councils are, in his view, periodical or 
intermittent exhibitions of sovereignty. They are 
extremely rare, purely accidental, without any regularity 
of recurrence; easier to assemble in primitive days 
when the extent of Christendom was comparatively 
small. But in modern times an Ecumenical Council is 
a mere chimera. It would take five or six years to 
arrange. If the objection is made, Why were all these 
Councils held if the decision of the Pope sufficed ? De 
Maistre adopts for his reply the following " Don t ask 
me; ask the Greek Emperors, who would have these 
Councils assembled, and who convoked them and 
demanded the consent of the Popes, and raised all this 
useless fracas in the Church." De Maistre goes further 
still. Quoting the opinion of Hume on the Council of 
Trent, that " it is the only General Council which has 
been held in an age truly learned and inquisitive," and 
"that no one expects to see another General Council 
until the decay of learning and the progress of ignorance 
shall again fit mankind for these great impostures " ; 
he calmly observes that while in its spirit this is a 
" reflexion brutale," yet in its substance it is worthy of 
consideration. Hume is right to this extent : that " the 
more the world becomes enlightened the less it will 
think of holding a General Council." The world, he 
adds, has become too great for General Councils, which 
appear better adapted for the youth of Christianity. 
He admits that a Council may, indeed, be serviceable, 
and that perhaps the Council of Trent did what 
only a Council could do. But he is so exceedingly 
jealous of its possible interference with the absolute 
sovereignty of the Pope that he can find no more than 
this in its favour; except to conclude this portion of 
his remarks with a curiously incongruous protestation of 


his perfect orthodoxy on the subject of General Councils. 
Thus De Maistre s Ultramontane proclivities completely 
blinded him to the true nature of this form of Catholic 
self-expression. We should not gather from his 
depreciative words that the Spirit of God had anything 
to do with the Councils of Christendom. It is singular, 
moreover, that a leader of modern Extremist views 
should have written in this strain only twenty-six years 
before the Vatican Council. 

De Maistre s treatment of the case of Honorius forms 
a most curious psychological study. The condemnation 
of Honorius by a General Council was to the Gallican 
School a conclusive proof that the Church which so 
expressed itself knew nothing of Ultramontane opinions 
on Papal Infallibility. De Maistre has a theory which 
we believe is entirely his own. He draws from imagina 
tion an account of what Honorius might, from an 
Ultramontane standpoint, be expected to have said if 
he had been living at the time, and had entered into 
the deliberations of the Council which condemned him. 
Here is the speech which Honorius, it appears, ought 
to have made : 

" My brothers, God has undoubtedly abandoned you, 
since you dare to judge the Head of the Church who 
is established to pass judgment upon you. I have no 
need of your assembling to condemn Monothelitism. 
What can you say that I have not said already ? My 
decisions are sufficient for the Church. I dissolve this 
Council by withdrawing from it." 

De Maistre could scarcely forget that the successor 
of Honorius, who on his theory ought to have made 
some protest against the Council s audacious treatment of 
their predecessor, omitted to make any. This is met 
with the remark that if certain successors of Honorius 


do not appear to have roused themselves against 
" the Hellenisms of Constantinople," their silence only 
proves their humility and their prudence, and has no 
dogmatic weight. The facts meanwhile continue what 
they are. The fact that the successors of Honorius 
for centuries went on reiterating his condemnation is 
not mentioned by De Maistre. But, as he truly says, 
the facts meanwhile continue what they are. Yet 
he implies that they do not. For he then suggests 
that perhaps the Acts of the Sixth Council have been 
falsified. The possibility of such dishonesty in ancient 
times is illustrated from the letters of Cicero. The appli 
cation is then delicately left for the reader to make. 
As for the author, " Quant a moi, je n ai pas le temps 
de me livrer a 1 examen de cette question superflue." 

De Maistre s argument for Papal Infallibility is a 
political argument pure and simple. All true govern 
ment in human society is monarchy. And the ultimate 
decision in the political order must be regarded as 
an infallible decision. The sovereign power cannot 
permit the laws to be called in question. What 
sovereignty is in the political order, the same is infalli 
bility in the spiritual. We only demand, therefore, 
for the Church the same prerogative of finality which 
we demand for the State. 1 

Readers of Mozley on Development will remember 
his crushing reply to this transparent sophism. 

"It is indeed absurd," writes Mozley, "to expect 
that the mind should be satisfied with it, because 
what the mind wants is to believe what is true ; and 
this argument does not touch the question of truth 
or error in the doctrines themselves decided on by 
this ultimate authority. It tells us the fact that they 
are decided on, and no more. It views the Church 

1 Du Pape, p. 20, 


simply as a polity, and professes to apply the same 
principles to it which belong to other polities ; and, 
wholly omitting its prophetical office of teaching truth, 
makes it impose its dogmas on us on the same principle 
on which the State imposes Acts of Parliament." 1 

This contribution to Ultramontanism received a 
criticism, also from the Roman Bishop Maret, just on 
the eve of the Vatican Council. 

"These weaknesses," says Maret, "of an able mind 
may remind us that the true seat of sovereignty and 
infallibility in the Church is not to be reached by 
logic but by appeal to Scripture and Tradition. Joseph 
de Maistre has not recognised this necessity. If he 
had not been a partisan dominated by a pre-conceived 
theory based on insecure foundations, he would have 
realised that a writer s first duty was to make a careful 
study of the General Councils, if he would understand 
the Church s constitution. And this he has most in 
adequately done." 2 

Here then, said a contemporary French critic, 3 we 
have the doctrine of infallible authority humanised and 
rationalised. But the contradiction is too gross to permit 
this solution of the problem to be taken literally. The 
tour de force is too puerile. We decline to believe 
that De Maistre was altogether duped by it. It is 
impossible that he could not have seen the huge abyss 
which separates Infallibility, as the Church understands 
it, from civil sovereignty and final judicial appeal. 
The former not only demands submission, but assent, 
belief. The second only imposes respect and exterior 
obedience, without involving any interior conviction 

1 Mozley, Essay on Development, p. 126. 2 Maret, ii. p. 313. 

3 Revue des deux Mondes (1858), p. 643. 


or belief; without preventing discussion, contradiction, 
and reversal by subsequent legislation. 

The ability of De Maistre is everywhere acknowledged. 
But he is a crowning illustration of error by excess. 
He is afflicted, as the same critic said, with the malady 
of logical intemperance. He is a victim of his own 
love of paradox. His passionate, masterful desire to 
push everything to the most extreme conclusions lands 
one on the brink of an intellectual abyss frightful to 
contemplate. He escapes with acrobatic agility where 
in all reason he ought to fall, and would fall, if his 
passion did not sustain him ; where certainly calmer 
men must fall. 1 

In addition to De Maistre, there was Lamennais a 
philosopher rather than a theologian ; clever, acute, 
impassioned, rhetorical ; a sort of French Tertullian. 
In profound mistrust of human reason, he threw him 
self with emotional violence into the work of exalting 
authority as the one refuge and salvation against error. 
Unbalanced and extreme in all he did, he ended in an 
equally violent reaction against the very authority 
which he had laboured to exalt But the moral of the 
change was lost upon his countrymen. Scandalised by 
his apostasy, they clung to his earlier ideals, and con 
tinued to maintain what the master had forsaken. 
He lived in discredit and died in distress, after mourn 
fully witnessing the wide extension of an Extremist 
school, which he had devoted his best years to create, 
but was totally unable to restrain. 

3. A third important factor was the political pressure 
exerted by the French Government upon the Church. 

1 Revue des detix Mondes (1858), p. 630. Cf. Lenormant s opinion of 
Joseph de Maistre : "II avait plus de talent que de science, et surtout de 
bon sens, et pour ma part, je ne me rangerai jamais parmi ses disciples." 
Les Origines de fHistoire^ i. p. 67, n. 


The influence of Napoleon promoted the very last 
thing he desired, " for a Church, pinched, policed, and 
bullied by the State, was inevitably thrown back upon 
the support of the Papacy." l 

From this despotic treatment at home the Church 
naturally turned its eyes towards Rome. Rome, with 
its troubles and misfortunes, grew more dear. A whole 
school of deeply religious and saintly men arose in France, 
filled with enthusiastic devotion to the See of Peter. 
Lacordaire whether defending the cause of religious 
education, or submitting himself to an adverse decision 
from Rome when his master Lamennais broke away, 
or re-establishing the order of Dominicans in France, 
or advocating the papal authority in the Cathedral 
at Paris produced an immense effect in enlisting the 
sympathies of men with Rome. The gifted Montalembert, 
eloquent, imaginative, threw the weight of his power 
and high position into the papal cause, and became 
among laymen recognised leader of Roman interests. 
The great Bishop Dupanloup, warmest-hearted of men, 
impulsively gave the movement an indiscriminating 
blessing, and brought upon himself numerous expres 
sions of papal gratitude. 

None of these were far-sighted men ; none of them 
realised in the least the ultimate drift of the authority 
they so powerfully advanced. Lacordaire died before 
the question of Infallibility came within the council 
chamber of the Church ; but Montalembert and Dupan 
loup alike beheld the prospect with consternation, 
and expressed their vehement disapproval. 

4. Another element which is said to have contributed to 
make the French priests as a body largely Ultramontane 
was the despotic power of the French Episcopate. Prob- 

1 Cf. Cambridge Modern History. French Revolution, ix. p. 771. 


ably no Bishops in Christendom were such autocrats as 
the French. The account given by the French statesman 
Ollivier, which is confirmed from other sources, represents 
the ordinary priest as subjected to a virtual slavery. If 
the despotic power of the French Bishops over their 
priests was to some extent moderated by piety, yet 
anxiety to maintain their authority constantly issued in 
acts of pitiless severity. The greater portion of the 
French priests were dismissible at will, without judicial 
process, or adequate opportunity for self-defence. 
Ollivier considers the causes of dismissal to have 
been frequently quite insufficient. One Bishop alone 
removed one hundred and fifty priests in a single 
month, and the State declined to interfere. Under 
these circumstances the Pope intervened. He took the 
part of the priests against the Bishop, and asserted the 
right of the inferior clergy to appeal to himself. From 
that moment, says Ollivier, Ultramontanism, hitherto 
forlorn enough, pervaded the mass of the priesthood. 
Down-trodden by a Gallican Episcopate, the priest 
hastened to proclaim the infallibility of a Pope by 
whom his own superiors might be the more effectively 
controlled. Ultramontanism grew to be a passion in 
the clerical world. And this movement from beneath 
affected the Episcopate. Either they were driven on 
by the force of the stream, or left stranded without the 
general sympathy. Ollivier says that whereas, in the 
past, men spoke of Gallican independence, it became 
a commonplace of Vaticanism to speak of French 
docility. 1 

5. Another impressive step in the direction of Papal 
Infallibility was taken in 1854 by Pius IX. when he 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 300. See also the anonymous pamphlet, " Pourquoi le 
Clerge Fransais est Ultramontane" (1879). 


declared the theory that the Blessed Virgin Mary was im 
maculately conceived to be a dogma of the Church. This 
theory rejected by St Bernard and by St Thomas, "a 
thesis of a theological school of the Middle Ages," opposed 
by the Dominican order was pronounced by Pius, on 
his sole authority, not with the concurrence of a Council 
of Christendom, to be of faith. And to this decree the 
entire Roman Communion submitted. No such act had 
occurred in the Church before. And although this act 
could bear constructions not involving Infallibility, for 
the Gallican might ascribe its validity to the tacit 
consent of the Church, yet it powerfully promoted the 
Infallibility view ; and it was constantly appealed to as 
a practical exercise of infallible authority and a justifica 
tion for the Vatican Decrees of 1870. 

Thus, if the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Church 
as opposed to that of the Pope was formerly the pre 
valent belief in France, as the independence of the 
Church of France diminished, the authority of Rome 
increased. The pressure of episcopal authority over 
the priests led the latter to magnify the distant authority 
of the Pope as a balance to local control ; and while 
the Bishops resented, the priests desired an increase of 
papal power. Meanwhile the Roman See, wherever 
practicable, filled places of influence with Ultramontanes. 
The whole weight of the Jesuit teaching was thrown 
unitedly, persistently, and with tremendous force, in all 
these schools into the scale of Infallibility. 



THE Archbishop of Paris in 1870 was Mgr. Darboy. 
The records of his See had been recently a series of 
ghastly tragedies. His immediate predecessors were 
Quelen, Affre, Sibour, and Cardinal Morlot. Only the 
last had died a natural death. Affre was shot on the 
barricades, and Sibour assassinated by one of his own 
priests. Darboy himself was destined to be added to 
the same terrible list. He was shot in prison during the 
Commune in 1871. His religious sympathies were the 
reverse of Ultramontane. 

" By his early theological training, by mental tenden 
cies, and not less by the traditions of the Diocese and 
See of Paris, Mgr. Darboy," says a biographer, "was 
devoted to the ancient principles of the Church of 
France." 1 

Darboy strove to maintain the ancient rights and 
authority of the Episcopate, and made no secret of his 
repugnance to nay, he openly rejected the theory that 
the Roman Pontiff possessed direct and immediate 
authority over every separate diocese. And, while he 
was a strong supporter of the Pope s temporal power, 

1 Guillermin, p. 124. 


he held to the time-honoured principle, that no papal 
document could be published in France without State 
permission. His great position and remarkable gifts of 
caution and self-control made him a power to be 
reckoned with, whether in France or at Rome. In the 
Vatican he was disliked and feared, as one of the 
strongest obstructors to Ultramontane conceptions. 
Napoleon III., who appointed him Archbishop, requested 
Pius IX. to raise him to the Cardinalate. The Pope 
would neither refuse nor consent. But he gave expres 
sion to his disgust in a private letter 1 to Darboy, 
rebuking him in the severest terms for holding opinions 
injurious to the papal authority. Darboy replied, with 
dignity and self-control, that he had no desire to offend. 
But he gave no suggestion of any change of mind. 
" I avoid argument/ he wrote, " because I do not desire to 
argue with a superior on the basis of a letter containing 
inaccurate statements of fact, and imparting to me words 
which I have not spoken." This was in the autumn 
of 1865. 

In the June of 1867 the Archbishop went to Rome in 
order to bring about an understanding. Shortly after 
his arrival he had an audience with the Pope. The 
audience began with a long and awkward silence, 
interrupted at length by Darboy, who observed that he 
was ready to hear the Pope s orders, unless the Pope 
preferred that the Archbishop should speak first. Pius 
then requested Darboy to speak, which he did, explain 
ing at considerable length the position of things in 
his diocese. Pius expressed himself contented ; and 
Darboy returned to Paris, where he gave an account 
of this interview to his assembled clergy, to whom he 
was closely united both in opinion and sympathy. 

1 26th October 1865. 


However, the incident was by no means closed. In 
August 1868 the Pope s letter of 1865 appeared in 
a Canadian newspaper, and was shortly copied and 
circulated all over France. The effect of the publica 
tion of one of the severest rebukes which a modern 
Bishop has received from Rome was naturally injurious 
to the Archbishop s authority. Darboy expostulated 
with Cardinal Antonelli. His explanations to the Pope, 
he said, appeared sufficient, if not complete. At any 
rate, no further allusion to the subject had been made 
in subsequent correspondence with the Holy See. 
Darboy had left Rome with the impression that an 
understanding was secured, or the subject set aside. 
And behold, suddenly the letter of 1865 had been 
drawn out of its privacy and thrown into full publicity. 
Now, since the letter was highly unfavourable, it was 
clear that the publication was not his doing. The 
act did not look like courage, and had all the draw 
backs of indelicacy. 

Antonelli replied diplomatically that the incident 
was very regrettable, especially since the motives 
prompting this exposure could hardly be described as 
they deserve. But, while concurring in the Archbishop s 
condemnation of the act, he was bound to add that 
the Pope was innocent of it and in no way responsible. 
Darboy considered this to be an extremely unsatis 
factory evasion, and wrote again, indicating that 
suspicion attached to certain officials. Antonelli 
answered that the officials entrusted with correspond 
ence at Rome were above suspicion. He admitted, 
however, that the Nuncio at Paris received a copy of 
the letter, with permission to show it to the French 
Minister of Worship in case of necessity. It was not, 
however, likely that he had availed himself of this 
permission, or that he had been so indiscreet as to 


publish it. Antonelli suggested that possibly the 
perpetrator was an ecclesiastic resident in Paris ; but 
how a copy of the Pontifical letter could have been 
secured, he was unable to explain. 

Expostulations from the French Government failed 
in eliciting any less unsatisfactory reply. Vague 
suspicions and unproved possibilities were all that 
the Archbishop received. No real apology was ever 
given ; no attempt made to repair the mischief done. 
But sincere relations of mutual confidence between 
the Archbishop and the Holy See were made from 
that time forward exceedingly difficult. It appears 
that Manning was commissioned at Rome to intervene. 
He visited Paris in the autumn of 1868, and assured 
Darboy of the Pope s "paternal sentiments" towards 
him. He suggested that a conciliatory overture from 
the Archbishop would be well received at Rome. 
Darboy declined. After Napoleon s advocacy of his 
claims to the Cardinalate any such step would seem 
nothing better than the promptings of self-interest, 
Thus the Archbishop reserved unimpaired his freedom 
of expression. Before leaving Paris, to attend the 
Vatican Council, he gave utterance to his convictions 
once again, in a pastoral letter to his Diocese. 1 Dealing 
with disquieting anticipations of coming dogmas ; new 
articles, likely to be imposed on Catholics, which hitherto 
no man had been required to believe ; assertions that 
the minority would be treated as an opposition, and 
speedily suppressed ; Darboy seized the opportunity 
of re-affirming the ancient principles : 

" If the Ecumenical Council orders explicit belief in 
matters hitherto open to denial without charge of 
heresy, it must be because these matters were already 

1 Eight Months at Rome^ Appendix, p. 268. 


certain and generally acknowledged. For in these 
questions, Bishops are witnesses who testify, not authors 
who discover. The conditions essential to an article 
of faith are : that it be revealed by God ; and that it 
be contained in the Deposit which the Christian 
centuries have faithfully guarded and transmitted one 
to another without alteration. Now it is incredible 
that five or six hundred Bishops will affirm in the 
face of the world that they have found in the con 
victions of their respective Churches that which is not 
there. If, then, they propose in Council truths to be 
believed, it is because these truths already exist in 
the evidence of Tradition, and in the common instruc 
tions of Theology ; and thus that they are not something 

What Darboy meant by these guarded words, and 
what his clergy understood him to mean, is beyond 
dispute. The theory of Papal Infallibility was not 
contained in the traditions of the Diocese and See of 
Paris. The contrary theory had prevailed. The Arch 
bishop went to Rome with a full intention of saying 
so and he said it. 

When Darboy arrived in Rome, he was speedily 
admitted to an audience with the Pope. He was one 
of the few to whom this privilege was given. The 
Pope had decided not to give special audiences before 
the Council assembled. But the Archbishop of Paris 
could not well be left out. The very security and 
existence of the Council depended, humanly speaking, 
entirely on the goodwill of France. Accordingly the 
Archbishop of Paris had to be received. It was a 
difficult interview. Darboy complained of the publicity 
given to the letter of 1865, which, being confidential, 
ought never to have been yielded to general curiosity, 
by persons surrounding the Pope. Moreover, the letter 
contained inaccuracies and errors. The Archbishop 



said that he had refrained from a public defence, partly 
from reluctance to correct the assertions of his spiritual 
chief, partly because such defence would be open to 
misconstruction as prompted by personal ambition. 

The Pope, who thoroughly appreciated the allusion 
in these last words, replied sympathetically ; adding 
that he would not henceforth believe any accusation 
against the Archbishop. He also expressed his gratitude 
for the security which the Imperial protection afforded 

2. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, was in the year 1868 
at the height of his reputation. No warmer advocate of 
papal rights existed in France. In youthful fervour he 
had written a thesis on behalf of Infallibility, a theory, 
however, which he had long since abandoned in favour 
of the French traditional view. That which more than 
anything else had confirmed this reversion to history 
was the issue of the Syllabus of 1864, which was to 
his mind a republication of obsolete mediaevalism, most 
unsuited to the requirements of modern thought. For 
Dupanloup was in keen sympathy with modern ideas ; 
and this example of the possible exercise of unlimited 
authority discouraged and alarmed him, as indeed it 
did most of the leaders of the Church in France. With 
this disconcerting fact before their eyes, nothing could 
be further from their desires than to extend an authority 
already so imprudently exerted. Distrust of infallible 
pretensions, decided preference for the older Gallican 
theory, accordingly, widely prevailed. 

Dupanloup had no suspicion that the Vatican Council 
would determine the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. He 
was able, so late as 1868, to write to the clergy of his 
diocese a glowing, re-assuring letter on the coming 
assembly. It is an affectionate pastoral utterance, whose 
logical cohesion must not be too closely inspected. He 


is persuaded that all is well, and he says so in various 
forms. He assures his clergy that, according to Catholic 
principles, Bishops united in council with the Pope 
"decide questions as witnesses of the faith of their 
Churches, as judges by Divine right." He is con 
vinced that this traditional principle will be maintained. 
Catholics have no cause to fear. A Council is a sublime 
union of authority with liberty. This will be illustrated 
in the coming events in Rome. He appeals with im 
passioned eagerness to the separated Eastern Churches, 
and to the Protestant communities, to seize this golden 
occasion for unity. In his glowing vision the Council is 
invested with all the graces of considerateness and 
caution : it becomes the means of re-uniting Christendom 
a work of pacification and of light. 

The condition of the Church in France at the time 
when the assembling of the Vatican Council was pro 
claimed may be partly ascertained from some extremely 
important and trustworthy sources. 1 Cardinal Antonelli 
sent a circular to the Nuncios in December 1868, asking 
for periodical reports on the attitude of Governments 
towards the Council ; on the conduct of Bishops relative 
to the same ; on the general bearing of non-Catholics ; 
on the opinions of the Press, books and pamphlets 
issued upon the subject ; and on the desires and require 
ments of each country. The Apostolic Nuncio in Paris 
induced four ecclesiastics privately to undertake this 
task, and a careful and elaborate memoir was the result. 
The report states that the section of the Press 
commonly called Ultramontane, such as the Monde 
and the Univers, wrote on the Council daily, but offended 
many by their general tone and the length to which 
they went. 

The French clergy are described as pious and reciting 

1 Cecconi, iii. p. 187. 


their breviaries, but in education poor. As to the 
general condition in France, Catholics are divided into 
two classes : Catholics pure and simple, and liberal 
Catholics. These latter are the object of preference 
to the Government. They fear that the Council will 
proclaim the dogmatic Infallibility of the Pope. The 
assertion circulates that if the Pope is declared infallible 
it will be necessary to change the language of the 
Creed from " I believe in the Church " to " I believe 
in the Pope." But the great majority of Catholics 
submit by anticipation to whatever the Council may 
proclaim. They admire the courageous convocation 
of the Council in such stormy, revolutionary times. 
They do not conceal from themselves that the Sovereign 
Pontiff, by a sentiment of august reserve, may not desire 
to take the initiative in a matter affecting him so 
personally. But they hope that the Fathers of the 
coming Council will define it by acclamation. This 
report was sent privately by the Paris Nuncio to 
Cardinal Antonelli in Rome. To the astonishment of its 
four compilers, it appeared, substantially, shortly after, 
in the pages of the Civilta Cattolica, the more or less 
official Roman journal under Jesuit influence. This 
discovery that they were being merely utilised as 
reporters for an Italian magazine, and that their con 
fidential communications were published in print, under 
the heading " Correspondence from France," so disgusted 
the compilers that the Nuncio had to tell Antonelli that 
they declined to continue. They feared, not unnaturally, 
that recognition of authorship in France might lead 
to serious results for themselves. This article led to 
an able French reply, 1 which accused the Roman 
publishers of having printed exclusively in the interests 
of the Ultramontanes, and of eliminating everything 

1 By Emile Ollivier. 


adverse to the designs of a certain party in the Church. 
They had issued in this Italian magazine an Ultra 
montane manifesto by no means concurrent with the 
material of the original report. The article in the 
Civilta Cattolica does not, said the critic, report what 
actually exists in France, but what Rome desires to 
find existing. France and its Government are persuaded 
that the opinion of sole Papal Infallibility is not accepted 
by the vast majority of French clergy, whether priests 
or bishops ; and they have the right to hope that the 
Church in council assembled will have the wisdom 
to avoid the theme. 

But this pronouncement of the Italian journal filled 
Dupanloup with consternation. The high position of 
the journal was beyond dispute. The vast distinction 
between its definite and extravagant utterances and 
the vague generalities of the Pope s own statement was 
equally obvious. And yet, situated as they were in 
Rome, could the editors have dared to publish such 
assertions if entirely destitute of official recognition? 
Dupanloup s grief was great. Yet for a time he was 
silent. Meanwhile a storm of controversy broke out. 
Writings for and against Infallibility appeared in all 

The Ultramontane doctrine was defended by 
Dechamps, Archbishop of Mechlin, afterwards ap 
pointed by the Pope Primate of Belgium. 1 The 
Belgian Episcopate was small but united ; only six 
attended the Vatican deliberations. But they were 
altogether Ultramontane, being appointed direct from 
Rome. Dechamps defended the theory of Papal 
Infallibility chiefly on a priori grounds. He main 
tained that a doctrinal authority, Divinely established, 
ought to be infallible. Unless it makes this claim, 

1 May 1869. 


such authority cannot be Divinely established. For 
that which may deceive us, or leave us in error, 
cannot be Divine. He endorsed the principle of De 
Maistre, that Infallibility is a necessary consequence 
of supremacy. One who pronounces absolute dogmatic 
decisions, and addresses them to all the faithful and 
the entire Catholic Episcopate, without requesting the 
consent, either direct or indirect, of the Episcopate, 
but rather commanding them to publish and carry 
out his decisions, forbidding them to infringe them, or 
rashly oppose them, under penalty of de facto excom 
munication, is personally infallible. Otherwise his 
dogmatic constitutions are a tyrannical usurpation of 
the rights of the Episcopate. And, since Dechamps 
does not admit the possibility of the latter alternative, 
he reaches quite satisfactorily his own conclusion. 

Thus, to the Archbishop s mind, the Infallibility of 
the Holy See is an indisputable truth, based on revela 
tion, contained in the written and traditional Word of 
God. It is inseparably bound up with truths which 
are of faith. Venturing into the department of history, 
the author believes that Pope Honorius miscalculated, 
through inability to foresee the results of his diplomatic 
endeavours, but committed no theological error. He 
insinuates a suspicion that the Greeks have falsified 
the Acts of the Sixth Council. They have so often 
done this sort of thing. During the first fourteen 
centuries the Infallibility of the Papal See was, accord 
ing to Dechamps, never called in question. That 
Bishops opposed the Pope, he admits. But only those 
who sided with the Pope constituted the Church. The 
doctrine is, he assures his readers, incontestably Catholic. 
A man can be a heretic in the sight of God without 
being so in the sight of the Church. He is a heretic 
if he rejects a truth which he knows to be revealed 

xii.] BISHOP MARET 167 

although not defined. There is to Dechamps only 
one truth in all the Gospel affirmed with the same 
superabundant clearness as Papal Infallibility, and that 
is the real presence in the Eucharist. Do not therefore 
let us hesitate to define this truth, which forms the 
basis of the Divine constitution of the Church a truth 
which Scripture conclusively reveals, and which twenty 
centuries have glorified. 

This treatise was highly commended at Rome, Pius 
himself congratulated Dechamps on the sagacity and 
erudition with which he had refuted the cavils of 

3. Then Mgr. Maret, Bishop of Sura, published his 
book : probably the most measured, learned, and con 
ciliatory statement of the ancient doctrine which the 
French Church had seen since the days of Bossuet. 

Maret s two scholarly volumes were not written for 
the multitude. They could only appeal to the few. 
They form a long historical treatise on the relation 
between the Papacy and the Episcopate. History, as 
understood by Maret, shows in the Church a monarchy 
limited by an aristocracy : a Pope regulated by Bishops. 
The jurisdiction of the Episcopate is not derived from 
the Papacy but from Christ. Maret disclaims any 
intention of diminishing the real prerogatives of the 
Apostolic See : l but he is bound to assert historic truth. 
History shows that there were Bishops in the early 
Church who did not derive their jurisdiction from 
St Peter. If Antioch can be traced to him, the Asiatic 
Churches are traced to St John. It can be proved 
that numerous Bishops have held their mission neither 
directly nor indirectly from the Roman See. Their 
institution is not by Divine right an exclusive papal 

1 Maret, Le Concile, ii. p. 9. 


Episcopal jurisdiction being direct from Christ, all 
Bishops assembled in council possess an equal right. 
The Infallibility of the Church is collective, not 
individual ; not to be sought in the isolated utterances 
of the one, but in the concurrent testimony of the 
entire Episcopate. Bellarmine, the leading advocate of 
the opposite school, is implicated by his theory, accord 
ing to Maret, in insoluble difficulties. For he admits 
that, for an utterance to become infallible, there are 
certain conditions to be fulfilled, such as serious and 
prolonged reflection and consultation with the Pope s 
advisers. If these were neglected the result would be 
insecure. But, conscious that this conditional Infalli 
bility diminishes its worth, Bellarmine asserts that an 
ill-advised definition is impossible ; since the Almighty, 
having willed the end, must also will the means. The 
precarious character of such & priori constructions is 
to Maret sufficiently self-evident. The scriptural 
evidence points the other way. Our Lord, says Maret, 
did not cause His prayer to preserve St Peter from 
a lamentable defect of faith : for God respects man s 
freedom. At the most solemn hour in all time that 
when the mystery of universal salvation was being 
accomplished the chief of the Apostolic College denies 
his Master thrice. If he quickly recovered, wept bitterly, 
and grew deeper in love, the analogy would be, not 
the preservation of his successors from defects of faith, 
but their speedy recovery ; that inconsistencies in papal 
decisions should be transient, and not permanently 
affect their loyalty to the truth. Whatever may be 
said about the letter of Honorius, what is absolutely 
certain is that he did not strengthen his brethren. 
Often in the Councils of the Church a papal utterance 
has been placed before the Bishops. If this utterance 
were in itself infallible, the only reasonable attitude 


would be passive obedience and blind submission. 
This is not the attitude of true judges, such as the 
Bishops have been traditionally regarded. 

Maret complains that the doctrine that Infallibility 
resides in the Collective Episcopate is sometimes dis 
paraged as Gallican ; whereas it is by no means 
restricted to the Church of France, although it possesses 
there its principal exponents. Modern Ultramontanism 
is to Maret a lamentable phenomenon, greatly pro 
moted by the ill-regulated influence of such extremists 
as Lamennais and Joseph de Maistre. It involves 
a treatment of history which but for a priori theories 
would be inconceivable. 

In the midst of this increasing storm Dupanloup 
wrote, in reference to his former vision : " Ah ! I had 
drawn an ideal of a Council full of charity, zeal, and 
love : and behold, all of a sudden appears a scene of 
lamentable disputes." But still he published nothing 
until Manning s Pastoral appeared, and that provoked 
him to public protest. It was November 1869 when 
Dupanloup circulated his Observations^ and into its 
pages he put his whole mind and heart. 

It was natural, said the Bishop to his clergy, that 
filial piety should desire to adorn a father with all gifts 
and all prerogatives ; but, congenial as these instincts 
were to filial piety, the definition of a dogma demanded 
other considerations than sentiment. Journalism, in 
the pages of the Civilta Cattolica^ had assumed the 
right to anticipate theological decisions ; and declara 
tions of faith in the personal and separate Infallibility 
of the Pope were being elicited from the most simple- 
minded and unqualified. It was actually being taught 
the reference is to Manning that the Pope was 
infallible " apart from the episcopal body whether united 
or dispersed." In reply to these extremists, Dupanloup 


did not reject the doctrine categorically : he confined 
himself to the assertion that its definition was inoppor 
tune. Yet he marshalled such an array of difficulties 
and objections as to imply much more than the 
inopportuneness of definition. 

Dupanloup declares that he cannot believe that 
Pius IX. has assembled the Council to define his own 
Infallibility. This was never mentioned in the Pope s 
address as one of the grounds for its convocation. The 
purpose, according to Pius IX., was to remedy the exist 
ing evils in the Church and in social life. Was it 
credible, asked Dupanloup, that in the midst of the 
many urgent problems here suggested and implied, a 
novel, unexpected, and profoundly complex and thorny 
question was to be thrown in the way, to ruin the 
prospects of unity, and to provide the world with 
scenes of a painfully discordant type? Doubtless, he 
continued, men would assure him that a principle was 
at stake : 

" A principle ! " echoed Dupanloup ; " even granting 
that were so, I answer, Is it then essential to the life 
of the Church that this principle should become a 
dogma of faith ? How, then, explain the fact that the 
Church has lived for eighteen centuries without defining 
a principle essential to her existence ? How explain 
the fact that she has formulated all her doctrine, pro 
duced her teachers, condemned all heresies, without this 
definition ? " 

Accordingly the Bishop denies that there can be 
any necessity. It is the Church which is infallible, he 
says, and the Infallibility of the Church has been to 
this hour sufficient for all religious needs. Dupanloup 
earnestly recalled the Ultramontanes to earlier principles 
which long prevailed in Christendom. The principle to 
be observed in defining doctrine is that given by Pius IV, 


to the Council of Trent : Let nothing be defined without 
unanimous consent. Dupanloup remembers well that 
when he was in Rome, in 1867, Pius IX., in discussing 
the projected Council, was most solicitous that subjects 
which might divide the Episcopate should not be 
brought before it. And in a recent reply to some 
English ministers as to terms of reunion, the Pope had 
spoken of papal supremacy, but not a word of Infalli 
bility. If certain journalists still proclaim this theory 
and expect to intimidate the Bishops into silence, 
Dupanloup s reply is, They neither know Pius IX. nor 
the Episcopate. 

Dupanloup s transparent sincerity none will doubt. 
But in face of the facts at our disposal, it is singular 
that he was so little able to read the signs of 
the times, or to estimate the forces at the disposal of 
the Infallibilist party. It is clear that he proposed to 
go to Rome totally ignorant of the issues before him, 
frankly disbelieving that Infallibility would come within 
conciliar discussion. It is clear that whatever service 
he had rendered to the papal cause, he was not in the 
confidence of Pius IX. But that this doctrine was the 
deliberate aim for which the Council was gathered is 
probably now a settled conviction with serious students 
of history. It is simply incredible that so far-sighted 
a Curia as that of Rome was suddenly led by impulse 
to the formulation of a dogma most momentous yet 
quite unforeseen. 

If Dupanloup pronounced the dogma of Papal Infalli 
bility most inopportune, it was partly because he 
understood sympathetically the conditions of religious 
life outside the Roman Communion, and knew that 
nothing in the world could be less calculated to win. 
He wrote most forcibly on the futility of inviting, as 
the Pope had done, the Oriental Bishops of the separated 


Churches to attend a Council, while preparing to erect 
a higher barrier than ever against their reception. Could 
anything, he asks, be less persuasive than this ? " There 
is already a division between us : we will make it an 
abyss. You already deny the Supremacy ; we require 
you to accept the personal Infallibility ! " Dupanloup 
is aware that certain recent converts ardently desire 
this doctrine. But he knows also Protestants desiring 
to become converts whom the doctrine will effectively 

But it is in reference to the difficulties which the 
dogma must create within the Communion accepting 
it that Dupanloup is, perhaps, most impressive. 

1. He sees that grave difficulties must attend the 
attempt to distinguish papal utterances which are 
infallible from those which are not. What are the 
precise conditions of an utterance ex cathedral It is 
generally assumed that all pontifical utterances have 
not this character. Does it depend upon external con 
ditions, such as the person or body to whom it is 
directed, whether an individual, a local Communion, or 
the Universal Church? Is it subjected to internal 
conditions ; and if so, what ? Must the Pope reflect, 
study, pray, take counsel ; if so, with whom ? Or 
need he merely speak ? Must his utterance assume a 
written form, or will verbal message be enough? Is 
the Pope infallible if he addresses the whole Church 
but acts under intimidation ? And if fear disqualifies 
infallible deliverance, does not also perverseness, im 
prudence, passion? Or will the partisans of Infalli 
bility say that the Almighty allows the former, but 
miraculously prevents the latter ? And will it be easy 
to determine what constitutes constraint ? 

2. Then again he sees historical difficulties in the way. 
The definition of Infallibility must be retrospective. If 


the Pope be decreed infallible now, it follows that he 
must have been equally infallible from the beginning. 
The same character must rest on all decisions across 
eighteen centuries complying with the conditions 
essential to its exercise. Is the Council to make the 
application of the principle to the past, and investigate 
this theological field of history. Dupanloup recoils from 
the prospect of such investigations ; nor is he happy 
about their effect upon the doctrine itself. Augustine 
taught that, after the judgment of Rome, there remained 
the Council of the Universal Church. This affirms the 
principle that, after the decision of the Pope, the decision 
of the Church is essential to a definition of faith. And 
Dupanloup manifestly held the same. 

3. But difficulties increase. The Infallibility of the 
individual seems inconsistent with the Divinely con 
stituted function of the Episcopate as judge and witness 
to the Faith. The whole principle of the Christian 
centuries has been that the collective testimony of the 
Episcopate is the ultimate expression in matters of 
faith. Bishops, says Dupanloup, are judges as to what 
the faith really is. They have always decided in 
Councils as true judges. The very expressions affixed 
with their signatures prove it. " Ego judicans, ego 
definiens, subscripsi." Such was the formula. Was 
but when Dupanloup wrote these sentences he had not 
anticipated the introduction of a novel form at the 
Vatican Assembly. A change of theory is appropriately 
accompanied by a change of phrase. Meanwhile the 
Bishop pursues his argument. If Papal Infallibility is 
independent of the Episcopate, then the essential pre 
rogative of the latter would be done away. What 
defining power is left for the Bishops to exert ? They 
can give, we are told, their sentence in the form of a 
simple assent. But will they be free to give their assent 


or to withhold it ? Not in the least. They will be under 
an obligation to assent. But no doctrine would depend 
on their assent. For, on the Ultramontane theory, the 
Pope s decision would bind all consciences of itself, 
independently of all episcopal approbation. But in that 
case, how could it any longer be maintained, as it has 
been maintained hitherto, that Bishops are real judges 
as to what is of faith ? 

Dupanloup s protest and adverse criticism on the 
dogma of Infallibility were delivered, as may readily 
be believed, with profound distress, and prompted by 
nothing but a painful sense of duty. He says that he 
is well aware of the hostile constructions which will 
be placed upon his words, of the disloyalty with which 
he will be charged. Yet such accusations will be as 
untrue as they are unjust. 

" I dare to say," he writes, " that the Church of 
France has given such proofs of its devotion to Rome 
as give it the right to be heard, and the right to be 
believed, when it speaks of its attachment to the Holy 

And he brings his letter to a close with words of 
sanguine expectation, soon to be piteously refuted by 

" I am persuaded that as soon as I have touched 
that sacred land, and reverenced the tomb of the 
Apostles, I shall feel myself far from the battle in a 
region of peace, in a midst of an assembly controlled 
by a father and composed of brethren." 

Dupanloup, says Quirinus in the well-known Letters 
from Rome 

" attacked the opportuneness with such a powerful array 
of testimonies in his famous Pastoral that every one 
saw clearly that the doctrine itself was involved, though 


he never entered in so many words on the theological 
question." l 

" If Dupanloup says that he does not discuss Infalli 
bility but opportuneness," observes a shrewd critic 2 
writing against him from Rome, " yet two-thirds of the 
letter are directed against Infallibility itself; for if the 
errors ascribed to the Popes were historic, such a 
definition would not only be inopportune but false." 

Why, then, it will be asked, did Dupanloup conduct 
his antagonism on the basis of opportuneness rather 
than on that of truth? It was simply because the 
opponents of Papal Infallibility, the German Episcopate 
in particular, refused to commit themselves unanimously 
to the latter position. They knew, of course, that they 
were greatly in the minority, and they believed that 
they could secure a numerical strength on the basis of 
opportuneness, which they could not expect on that 
of explicit rejection. And in the first instance their 
impression was correct. The position served its purpose 
for several months. It drew adherents to the opposi 
tion. " It provided waverers with a comparatively 
innocent method of resistance." 3 It left an easy loop 
hole for escape in case the pressure at Rome became 
too strong. It gave its advocates immunity from 
graver accusations, to which they would be liable if the 
doctrine were decreed. It would be safer afterwards to 
be able to plead, " I did not assert its falsity, I only 
thought it inopportune." 

But however much the plea of the inopportune might 
increase at the beginning the party s numerical 
strength, it involved it ultimately and fundamentally 
in the most incurable weakness. The plea of inoppor- 

1 Letters from Rome, p. 255. 2 Nardi in Cecconi, iv. p. 544. 
3 Letters from Rome, p. 255. 


tunism is in the long - run an untenable plea. As 
Quirinus says : 

" A minority may be invincible on the ground of 
dogma, but not on that of expediency. Everything 
can be ventured to oppose a false doctrine, but not to 
hinder an imprudent or premature definition of a truth." l 

It laid them open to Manning s retort, " When was 
it ever inopportune to proclaim the truth ? " It was 
the acid of such criticism which dissolved the apparent 
unity of the opposition. For it challenged the minority 
to say outright whether they believed the doctrine or 
denied its truth. And to do the latter in Rome under 
such conditions was no easy thing. Here was the 
fatal weakness by which the opposition came to grief. 
We may wonder what might have been the course of 
events had the opposition taken the bolder and stronger 

Dupanloup knew perfectly that the publication of 
these searching criticisms on the doctrine proposed 
involved nothing less than the sacrifice of his popularity 
among the entire Ultramontane section of his Church. 
That however he could bear with comparative equa 
nimity. Popularity had come to him : he never sought 
it. But what distressed him greatly was that his action 
would sadden Pius IX. True that the Bishop expressly 
confined himself to the question of opportunism, and 
that he pledged himself beforehand to accept the 
Council s decisions, whatever those decisions might be. 
Nevertheless, in his memorable words, " I go as a 
judge and a witness of the faith," he had formulated 
a conception of the episcopal function which was not 
only ancient and world-wide, but irreconcilable with 
the theory of Papal Infallibility. 

1 Page 256. 


It was Dupanloup s great desire to be supported by 
Newman s teaching and authority ; and to be accom 
panied by him as his theologian at the Council in 
Rome. Newman, however, says Thureau Dangin, 1 
declined a proposal which he felt would displease 
Pius IX. But the Bishop had Newman s perfect 
sympathy. The clergy of the diocese sent him 
assurances of loyal devotedness. Montalembert wrote 
in fervid terms of admiration. And Gratry s famous 
incisive letters on the controversy added much to the 
intellectual support of Dupanloup s work. 

Dupanloup s public declaration of opposition roused 
on every side the strongest emotions. Louis Veuillot, 
journalist, the extreme of Ultramontanes, editor of the 
Univers, declared this attack to be " most unexpected, 
and more important than any, owing to the position 
of its author." 2 It was to his mind much more serious 
than the efforts of Dollinger. The Catholic Bishop had 
provided poisonous arguments for an infidel press. 
Dupanloup penned impulsively a vigorous and im 
passioned reply, in which he applied to the journalist 
the title given in the Apocalypse to Satan the accuser 
of the brethren. He could have tolerated Veuillot s 
personalities, but not his doctrinal exaggerations. From 
dogmatic assertions of the crudest extremest kind, 
which had appeared in his pages during the previous 
year, the Bishop selected the following examples : 
Veuillot declared that Ecumenical Councils never had 
so much authority as the Decrees of the Holy See. 
Dupanloup asks whether that applies to the Nicene 
proclamation of the Divinity of Christ. Veuillot mis 
interpreted the text " Lo, I am with you always " you 
collectively (for it is in the plural) into you singular 
that is, " you, the Pope." He further declared that when 

1 Correspondent, loth February 1906. 2 Cecconi, iv. p. 483. 



the Pope thought God thought in him ; that the Pope 
represented God on earth ; that to the Pope applied 
the text, " This is my God and I will praise Him, 
my Father s God, and I will glorify Him." Veuillot 
further declared that God would stone the human race 
with the ddbris of the Vatican. 

Whether one who perpetrated these eccentricities 
of doctrine and interpretation and prediction could be 
trusted as a qualified exponent of Catholic truth was 
to Dupanloup more than manifest. But nevertheless 
Veuillot was in France an accredited leader of the 
Ultramontanes, a fervid champion of Papal Infallibility. 

Dupanloup s courageous attitude enlisted the devoted 
admiration of opponents of Papal Infallibility. No 
one testifies to this more forcibly than Montalembert. 
Montalembert who curiously combined a profound 
belief in mediaeval legend with the advanced opinions 
of the liberal politician, denying the Church s right to 
employ coercive measures, which Rome maintains, yet 
advocating vigorously the temporal claims of the Papacy 
was a Catholic of the ancient type: the born anta 
gonist of the modern Ultramontane, while yielding to 
none in devotion to the Roman See. But his admira 
tion for Dupanloup s outspoken words svas unbounded. 

" No doubt," wrote Montalembert, " you greatly admire 
the Bishop of Orleans, but you would admire him vastly 
more if you could realise the depth into which the 
French clergy has sunk. It exceeds anything which 
would have been considered possible in the days when 
I was young. . . . Of all the strange events which the 
history of the Church presents, I know none which 
equals or surpasses this rapid and complete transforma 
tion of Catholic France into a vestibule of the ante 
chambers of the Vatican." 1 

1 Lord Acton, Vatican Council, p. 58. 


4. To Dupanloup s support came Gratry, priest of the 
Oratory, member of the Academy, Professor of Moral 
Theology at the Sorbonne. Gratry is certainly one of 
the most attractive personalities of the period. A 
refined and beautiful character, tender and sympathetic ; 
he combined, as a contemporary acknowledged, 1 the 
imagination of a poet with the gifts of a metaphysician. 

Gratry s famous letters attacked the Ultramontanes 
on the historical side. It is manifestly essential to the 
Infallibilist position that no solitary instance should be 
produced of a Pope officially defending heresy. Gratry 
therefore took the case of Honorius. " Heretical he can 
not be," said the Ultramontane, as represented by Man 
ning. "And yet," replies Gratry, "he was condemned 
as such by three Ecumenical Councils in succession." 

Here is the language of the first of these : 

Anathema to the heretic Cyrus. 
Anathema to the heretic Honorius. 
Anathema to the heretic Pyrrhus. 

Two other Ecumenical Councils repeated this con 
demnation of Honorius. The solemn profession of 
faith recited by successive Popes for centuries on the 
day of their election repeated this condemnation. It 
was mentioned in all the Roman Breviaries until the 
sixteenth century. Then a significant change took 
place. The name of Honorius disappears. They have 
simply suppressed his condemnation. These things 
are now said otherwise, " for the sake of brevity " ! 
The Liber Diurnus contained the papal profession 
of faith. " As Pope Honorius is condemned in the 
profession of faith of the new Pontiffs," says Cardinal 
Bona, "it is better not to publish this work." "That 

1 Baunard, Hist. Card. Pie, p. 371. 


is to say/ exclaims Gratry, " behold a fact which over 
whelms us. Let us prevent its being known." 

The maxim that truth may be suppressed in the 
interests of religion roused Gratry s boundless indigna 
tion. Gratry himself had heard an Italian Prelate 
defend on this principle the condemnation of Galileo. 

"Yes, undoubtedly," said the Bishop, "Galileo was 
right, and his judges knew perhaps that he was right ; 
that he had discovered the true laws of astronomy : 
but at that time this too dangerous truth would have 
scandalised the faithful. This is the reason they con 
demned him, and they did right." 

Gratry s strenuous protest is worth recording : 

" Had then the Catholic religion had the Word of 
God need of this monstrous imposture in a solemn 
judgment? O ye men of little faith, of low minds, of 
miserable hearts, have not your cunning devices become 
the scandal of souls? The very day that the grand 
science of Nature dawned upon the world, you con 
demned it. Be not astonished if men, before pardoning 
you, expect of you a confession, penitence, profound 
contrition, and reparation for your fault." 

The omission from the Roman Prayer Book of historic 
facts acknowledged until the sixteenth century was, to 
Gratry s mind, an equally miserable illustration of inde 
fensible principles. " Never was there in history a more 
audacious forgery, a more insolent suppression of the 
weightiest facts," The systematic suppression of facts 
antagonistic to the Pope s absolute sovereignty and 
separate Infallibility ought, urged Gratry, to prevent us 
from proclaiming before God and man theories supported 
by such a method. 

" This was the reason that Dupanloup had spoken. 
From God he will receive his reward. And all those 


who, notwithstanding these arguments and these facts, 
are bold enough to go further and pronounce judgment 
in the dark, will have to render an account before the 
tribunal of God. Absolute certainty is here a necessity. 
For the smallest doubt here demands by Divine right 
the most rigorous forbearance." 

Louis Veuillot, the journalist, editor of LUnivers, 
criticised Gratry with an inimitable mixture of worldly 
wisdom, insolent banter, and pious resignation. 1 He 
had fondly hoped that Gratry s friends, either by piety 
or prudence, would have diverted him from an enterprise 
which could only issue in odium or ridicule. However, 
needs must that offences come. To deny Infallibility 
in presence of a Council met to proclaim the unvarying 
faith of the Church, to deny it by attacks on the Prayer 
Book, was a masterpiece among mistakes. Nobody 
ever accused Gratry of possessing any ecclesiastical 
learning or independent power. Loss of faith explains 
many things. Needs must that offences come. As 
to the contents of the book, it was Janus rechauffe. 
Gratry would never convince the human mind with 
his Protestant, Gallican, free-thinking ideas. Gratry 
is described as being as innocent as a new-born babe, 
as having studied nothing, read nothing, but passion 
ately advocating what others have told him. And 
yet this innocence is surprising in an Academician, 
formerly of the Oratory, author of a book on logic. 
This innocent is, moreover, a priest. Strangers have 
brought him papers which say that his Mother has told 
him lies ; and he takes them for angels and believes 
them. But Gratry is also a mathematician ; and all 
mathematicians have some curious twist in the brain. 
Just as Laplace the mathematician had no need of 

1 Louis Veuillot, Rome pendant le Concile> p. 156. 


the hypothesis of God in his world, so Gratry the 
mathematician has no need of the hypothesis of the 
Pope in his conception of the Church. Gratry ought 
to have submitted these angels who instructed him to 
the test of holy water. We know these angels of 
his. One of them is called Janus. That serpent has 
deceived the dove. Gratry has taken Germanism for 
science just as it came from Germany. Inaccurate 
mathematician ! Incurable infancy ! 

So Veuillot railed and ridiculed. And Veuillot 
obtained letters of papal approval for his defence of 
the faith. 

Gratry s four letters were read with avidity through 
France ; they were circulated in Rome, and translated 
into English. Four editions appeared in a single year- 
They roused the keenest emotions on either side. They 
were denounced. They were applauded. Meantime 
the shrewd observer wondered what the end would be, 
should this controverted opinion become translated into 
the province of necessary belief. 1 Episcopal condemna 
tions were freely issued. The Archbishop of Mechlin 
descended to personalities, recommending Gratry to 
confine his attention to philosophy, and to cease to 
scandalise Christendom with erroneous ideas and out 
rages against the Holy See. Another Bishop wrote 
in terms which show how profoundly men s passions 
were stirred, that the Bishop of Orleans, secretly acting 
with an ability worthy of a better cause, had only too 
successfully roused both cultured and popular circles, 
disturbed the high regions of diplomacy, and attacked 
the hopes and convictions of the Catholic world. 
Dollinger, Maret, and Dupanloup were a triumvirate 
of agitators, to whom was now added that insulter of 
the Roman Church, the Abb Gratry. 2 The Oratory, 

1 Cf. Ollivier, ii. p. 57. * Acta, p. 1425. 


anxious for its safety, repudiated all connection with 
its former associate. 1 The unfortunate priest was the 
victim of the grossest attacks and suspicions. A few 
but very few ventured openly to support him. The 
Hungarian Prelate, Strossmayer, 2 had the courage to 
strengthen him. Strossmayer had read Gratry s defence 
of Dupanloup with the greatest joy. Fervid indiscre 
tion was bringing the gravest perils upon the Church, 
and the crisis called for the most energetic resistance. 
May Gratry go on and prosper! But such Episcopal 
encouragements were few. 

On the other hand, the Bishop of Strasburg 
endeavoured to suppress the circulation in the usual 
mediaeval way. He condemned the letters of Gratry as 
containing false propositions, scandalous, insulting to the 
Holy Roman Church, opening the way to errors already 
condemned, rash, and bordering upon heresy. He pro 
hibited the reading, circulating, or possession of these 
letters either by clergy or faithful in his diocese." 3 

5. Montalembert, ruined though he was in health by 
an incurable malady, was roused by this reticence 
among the men who secretly approved, and came to 
Gratry s support. " Since the strong do not support 
their own champion," said Montalembert, "the sick 
must needs rise from their beds and speak." 4 

" I venture to say that you will not find ... in my . . . 
speeches or writings a single word in conformity with 
the doctrines or pretensions of the Ultramontanes of 
the present day ; and that for an excellent reason 
which is, that nobody had thought of advocating them 
or raising them, during the period between my entrance 
into public life and the advent of the Second Empire. 
Never, thank Heaven, have I thought, said, or written 

1 Ada, p. 1382. 2 Ibid. p. 1383. 

3 Ibid. p. 1393 (February 1870). 4 Ollivier, ii. p. 63. 


anything favourable to the personal and separate In 
fallibility of the Pope such as men seek to impose 
upon us." 1 

" How was it possible," wrote Montalembert, "to foresee 
in 1847 that the Liberalism of Pius IX., welcomed as 
it was by Liberals everywhere, would ever become the 
pontificate represented and embodied in such journals 
as the Univers and the Civilta ? Who could possibly 
anticipate the triumph of the theologian-advocates of 
absolute power ; the novel Ultramontanism, which, 
began by destroying our liberties and traditional ideas, 
and closes by sacrificing justice and truth, reason 
and history, wholesale before the idol which they 
have enstated in the Vatican ? " 2 

If this word " idol " appears too strong, Montalembert 
would appeal to a letter written to him by Mgr. Sibour, 
Archbishop of Paris, in 1853. 

" The new Ultramontane School," wrote Archbishop 
Sibour, " involves us in a double idolatry an idolatry 
of the temporal power, and an idolatry of the spiritual. 
When, like myself, you made strong profession of 
Ultramontanism, you did not understand things so. 
We maintained the independence of the spiritual power 
against the exaggerated claims of the temporal. But 
we respected the constitution of the State and of the 
Church. We did not abolish all grades of power, all 
ranks, all reasonable discussion, all lawful resistance, all 
individuality, all freedom. The Pope and the Emperor 
were not respectively the Church and the State. 

" Undoubtedly there are occasions when the Pope 
can act independently of all regulations designed for 
ordinary procedure ; occasions when his power is as 
extensive as the needs of the Church. . . . The older 
Ultramontanes were aware of this, but they did not 
convert an exception into a rule. The new Ultra- 

\ J Montalembert s letter, Acta Vatican Council, p. 1358. 
2 Acta, p. 1386 (February 1870). 


montanes have pushed everything to extremes, and 
have argued extravagantly against all independence, 
whether in the State or in the Church. 

" If such systems were not calculated to compromise 
the deepest interests of religion in the present, and 
still more in the future, one might silently despise 
them. But when one forecasts the evils which they 
will bring upon us, it is hard to be silent and to submit. 
You have, therefore, done well, sir, to condemn them." 

Montalembert s abandonment of the Ultramontanes 
is strikingly described by Ollivier, the head of the 
Government in France. According to Ollivier, what 
Montalembert sought in the Ultramontane propaganda 
was simply the removal of civil constraints and the 
liberty of the Church. But when men sought to 
impose upon him the Infallibilist doctrines of Joseph 
de Maistre, whose work he had commended without 
understanding, he found that he had unconsciously 
promoted the very opinions which he abhorred. The 
absolute monarchy of the Pope he simply disbelieved 
and rejected. Yet he saw the forces which he had 
inspired with enthusiastic devotion to the Papacy 
advancing the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Therefore 
he gathered what strength remained, on his dying 
bed, in a final protest against any such decree. He 
was permitted to die before experiencing the necessity 
to submit Felix opportunitate mortis?- 

Pius IX. s own estimate of Montalembert was very 
severe. He described him, after his death, as only 
half a Catholic, whose mortal enemy was pride. 

The Italian historian of the Vatican Council, Cecconi, 
Archbishop of Florence, is more just. Cecconi says that 
those who knew the deeply Catholic sentiments of 
Montalembert, unfortunately entangled though they 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 451. 


were with magnificent Utopias on liberty, will not 
credit him with uncatholic extremes. He rendered 
to the Church most signal services. If he was 
sometimes deceived, this was due, not to want of 
intelligence, but of theological learning. When the 
alternative lay between liberty and religion, he did 
not hesitate. " I love liberty more than all the world," 
he said, " and religion more than liberty." When asked 
what he would do if Infallibility were defined, he 
answered without hesitation, " I should submit." " But 
how would you reconcile your ideas with such a defini 
tion ? " "I should impose silence on my reasonings. 
If my difficulties remained, assuredly the good God 
does not order me to understand, but simply to submit, 
as I do to other dogmas." Such was an Italian 
estimate. 1 

Dupanloup reached Rome. He found himself, pre 
ceded by a mass of hateful incriminations and ridiculous 
calumnies. 2 He was said in English Roman papers 
to be in league with Napoleon against the Holy 

Dupanloup s generous nature was profoundly wounded. 
To the clergy of the diocese who expressed their loyal 
sympathy with him, he replied : 

" You see a Bishop who, during a life already long, 
has given manifest proofs of his devotion to the Church 
and to the Holy See ; but who, because one day in a 
momentous question he has said what he believed to 
be the true interest of religion and of the Papacy, 
becomes suddenly the object of all the insults and 
indignities against which you protest: so far has 
passion prevailed where it ought not to exist. But 
what does it matter? There are in life hours marked 
out for grave and painful duties." 3 

1 Cecconi, ii. p. 445. Cf. Foisset, C. de Montakmbert, p. 103. 

2 Lagrange, iii. p. 152. Cf. Tablet (1869). 3 Ibid. p. 153. 

xii.] IN ROME 187 

Dupanloup s house in Rome became a centre of 
activity for the Bishops of the minority. He was the 
animating spirit of the French opposition, while 
Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, was the controlling 
influence. 1 The French Episcopate possessed no 
unity, and quickly divided into two opposing parts. 
Endeavours were made to hold them together. But 
the two French Cardinals represented contrary opinions. 
Cardinal Mathieu, Archbishop of Besangon, was a 
member of the opposition. But his conduct manifested 
a lack of qualities essential to a leader. Cardinal 
Bonnechose, Archbishop of Rouen, on the contrary, 
was a decided Ultramontane. And Pius placed him 
on the important Committee of Suggestions. So the 
two Cardinals pulled different ways. When Cardinal 
Mathieu laboured to unite the Bishops of the French 
Church, Cardinal Bonnechose adroitly consulted 
Antonelli, who, acting on the maxim "divide and 
conquer," advised that the Pope was opposed to meet 
ings of larger numbers than fifteen or twenty. Cardinal 
Mathieu consequently left Rome in disgust, and went 
to spend Christmas in Besancon. However, in spite 
of great discouragements, an international committee of 
the opposition Episcopate was formed, which materially 
strengthened their forces. 

: Lagrange, iii. p. 156 



IGNATIUS VON DOLLINGER became Professor at 
Munich in 1825. In a mixed University, where Pro 
testant and Roman teachers addressed their students 
in close proximity, and Schelling taught Philosophy 
while Mohler lectured on Symbolism, and Klee on the 
Fathers, a knowledge of modern thought, an abandon 
ment of obsolete methods, became natural and necessary 
among Roman Catholic advocates. The stricter Italian 
School looked with grave misgivings on these Liberal 
tendencies and looser ways. But circumstances rendered 
this larger freedom more or less inevitable. It is curious 
to reflect that Dollinger began life as an Ultramontane, 
under the influence of the works of that paradoxical 
extremist Joseph de Maistre ; for whom Lord Acton 
professed a distant regard, coupled with a devout deter 
mination to exclude the contributions of the entire 
school from the pages of his journals. Bellinger s 
change from the Roman to the Catholic standpoint was 
the outcome of independent critical and historical study. 
Cold and critical by nature, essentially intellectual, 
he was endowed with enormous vigour and insati 
able desire for learning. His intention was to write 
a history of the Papacy. He found the approaches 
choked with legend. " Many of these were harmless, 

1 88 

CHAP, xni.] DOLLINGER 189 

others were devised for a purpose ; and he fixed his 
attention more and more on those which were the work 
of design." 1 The question raised by the mediaeval 
fables of the Papacy became theologically of grave 
concern : " How far the persistent production of spurious 
matter had permanently affected the genuine constitu 
tion and theology of the Church ? " From the fables, 
Dollinger advanced to the forged decretals. He studied 
" the long train of hierarchical fictions which had 
deceived men like Gregory VII., St Thomas Aquinas, 
and Cardinal Bellarmine." 2 " And it was," says Acton, 
" the history of Church government which so profoundly 
altered his position." Existing ecclesiastical develop 
ments had to be tested by the past; their value 
disentangled from the fictitious elements which con 
tributed to produce them. The famous Canon of 
St Vincent of Lerins, the appeal to antiquity, uni 
versality, and consent, came to have increasing worth in 
Dollinger s mind. " He took the words of St Vincent," 
says Acton, 3 " not merely for a flash of illumination, 
but for a scientific formula and guiding principle." At 
first insensibly, but more and more definitely, Dollinger 
diverged from the axioms of the Ultramontanes. 
Catholic he continued to be throughout, and to the 
very last ; but historical knowledge seemed to him 
impossible to combine with the popular Roman theories 
of the day. Under his intellectual rule the Munich 
School acquired immense ascendancy. It became the 
recognised centre of ecclesiastical learning, Catholic yet 
critical. And, above his colleagues, Dollinger became 
the adviser of the Church in Germany. 4 Montalembert 
attended lectures there, and Acton, rejected at 

1 Acton, History of Freedom, p. 418. 2 Ibid. p. 420. 3 Ibid. p. 388, 
4 Goyau, U Allemagnc Religieuse, ii. p. 89. 


Cambridge, found a home in Bellinger s house at 

The theological principles of Ignatius von Dollinger 
could scarcely be in the year 1868 unknown in Rome. 
For five - and - forty years he had been a teacher in 
Ecclesiastical History, and his reputation was European. 
But he was not invited to take any part in the theo 
logical preparations for the Vatican Council. An Italian 
writer l indeed assures us that 

"in the number of those whom the Pope intended to 
invite was, contrary to the advice of some, the celebrated 
historian Dollinger. . . . But the Sovereign Pontiff was 
informed, on the authority of statements perhaps some 
what inexact, that Dollinger would refuse the invitation ; 
and accordingly Pius IX. did not give effect to his 

The explanation is unconvincing and superfluous. 
The presence of Dollinger on a theological commission 
in Rome at the Pope s request is scarcely thinkable. 
There were few learned members of the Roman 
Communion whom Pius IX. would welcome less 
in Rome. But the minority earnestly desired his 
presence. 2 Cardinal Schwarzenberg wrote to Antonelli 
that the consulting theologians selected for the 
preparatory commissions were not, so far as Germany 
was concerned, up to the necessary level. Doubtless 
their merits were considerable, but their learning was 
small. They were not qualified to do justice to the 
difficult problems which would have to be submitted 
to them. They were chosen, so far as the dogmatic 
section was concerned, exclusively from one School. 
The Universities of Munich, Bonn, Tubingen, Fribourg, 
included many eminent men, who were, however, 

1 Cecconi, ii. p. 329. 2 Ibid. li. p. 331. 


omitted, much to Schwarzenberg s astonishment. He 
noted in particular the absence of Hefele and Dollinger. 
But while Schwarzenberg wrote in this honest, impulsive 
way, Antonelli was in receipt of letters of another type 
from the Bavarian Nuncio, Meglia. According to the 
Nuncio, among the more hopeful and moderate German 
Professors was Dieringer of Bonn, who had been pro 
posed for three bishoprics, including the Archiepiscopal 
See of Cologne. True, he had recently somewhat com 
promised his reputation by an attack on the Jesuit 
Kleutgen ; but the Nuncio regarded this as a momentary 
aberration the general opinion being that at fifty-six 
Dieringer was not likely to belie his past. To mix 
him with theologians in the Eternal City would place 
him more completely at the disposal of the Roman 
cause. Another promising person was the historian 
Hefele. True, that his History of the Councils contained 
some hazardous remarks ; but the Nuncio evidently felt 
secure of him. " Now," adds Meglia, " it is very noticeable 
that no member of the German party of savants has 
been invited to Rome, and the result is that they 
are in a great state of irritation. It would be, therefore, 
prudent to meet this by a careful selection from the 
more moderate among them." As a result of this 
communication, Pius invited Dieringer, Hefele, and 
others: thus, the Augsburg Gazette observed, correct 
ing the Italian monotony by an infusion of elements 
very necessary to give vitality. So Dollinger was left 
out. But he was by no means unoccupied. He was 
engaged in writing the five articles, criticising and 
condemning the Infallibility doctrine from an historical 
point of view, which appeared anonymously in March 
1869 in the Augsburg Gazette. These articles 
attracted a great attention, and were regarded with 
profound disgust in Rome. In three months time 


appeared the volume entitled The Pope and the Council, 
by Janus. Janus, as the preface assured the reader, 
was the production of several writers ; but, as Friedrich x 
tells us, under Bellinger s control. Janus was an expan 
sion of the five articles in the Augsburg Gazette. 
The purpose of Janus was to demonstrate that, accord 
ing to ancient Catholic principles, the chief exponent of 
the faith in Christendom was the Collective Episcopate ; 
and therefore that the Council stood supreme above 
the Pope. Leo himself acknowledged that his treatise 
could not become a rule of faith until confirmed by 
the assent of the Episcopate. The process by which 
these principles were reversed is ascribed partly to 
the ever-increasing ascendancy of the papal power, to 
which in the long development of centuries many things 
contributed. The historical evolution was not without 
protests and reactions, but forged documents, accepted 
by uncritical ages as correct, misled even such theo 
logians as St Thomas. 

Various influences tended to advance the conception 
of the Pope s Infallibility. There was the influence of 
the theologians after St Thomas, whose great authority 
seemed sufficient, but whose opinion was founded on 
fictitious documents. There was the influence of 
the Inquisition, which, wherever it was dominant, 
rendered instruction in the ancient conception im 
possible. There was the influence of the Index, 
which meant the suppression of criticism and the 
conversion of historical literature into partisan pro 
ductions for the maintenance of Ultramontane 
opinions. The publication of certain books, such 
as the Liber Diurnus, containing historic statements 
impossible to reconcile with Papal Infallibility, 
was prevented, and impressions already printed 

1 Friedrich, Dollinger, iii. p. 485. 

xin.] DOLLINGER 193 

were destroyed, confessedly because they could not 
be utilised in the controversial interests of the Italian 
theories. Alterations were made in the Breviary in 
the direction of Papal Infallibility. The fact that 
Pope Honorius had been condemned as a heretic by 
Councils was now left out. But more than many 
influences, the powerful Order of the Jesuits contributed 
to the advancement of the theory. It was congenial 
to their whole spirit. Accustomed to the principle of 
blind obedience ; themselves exhorted and in turn 
exhorting others to the sacrifice of the intellect ; they 
identified themselves with this doctrine, protected it, and 
promoted it with tremendous effect Since the days 
of Bellarmine, their theologian, they gave it the benefit 
of their entire concurrence. 

So then, according to Janus, through the co-operation 
of many foreign elements, the ancient principle is found 
completely reversed ; and whereas in primitive centuries 
the Council, the Collective Episcopate, was the supreme 
exponent, in the later it was the Pope. This, says 
Janus, is no true development. It is rather a trans 
formation. The verdict of History is against this 
doctrine entirely. 

" For thirteen centuries an incomprehensible silence 
on this fundamental article reigned throughout the whole 
Church and her literature." 

"To prove the dogma of Papal Infallibility from 
Church History nothing less is required than a complete 
falsification of it." 

The advocates of Papal Infallibility could not avoid 
the discussion of the serious problem which their theory 
entailed, namely, under what conditions is the Pope 
infallible ? They found, says Janus, on closer inspection, 
papal decisions which contradicted the doctrines either 



of their predecessors or of the Church. Janus gives 
numerous instances. It became necessary, therefore, 
to specify some distinctive marks by which the product 
of Infallibility might be recognised. Accordingly, since 
the sixteenth century there grew up the famous view 
that papal judgments, when pronounced ex cathedra^ 
were infallible. The remarks of Janus on this point 
ought to be given as far as may be in the writers words. 

The writers acknowledge that " the distinction 
between a judgment pronounced ex cathedra and a 
merely occasional or casual utterance is a perfectly 
reasonable one," not only in the case of a Pope, but 
in the case of any teacher. Every teacher will at 
times speak offhand, and at times speak officially and 
deliberately. " No reasonable man will pretend that 
the remarks made by a Pope in conversation are defini 
tions of faith." But beyond this the distinction has 
no meaning. Every official utterance of a Pope must 
be an ex cathedra utterance. When a Pope speaks 
publicly on a point of doctrine, he has spoken ex 
cathedra ; for he was questioned as Pope, and has 
answered as Pope. To introduce other conditions, such 
as whether he is addressing an individual, or a local 
Communion, or the entire Church, is to make purely 
arbitrary distinctions which are really prompted by 
the existence of certain inconvenient papal decisions 
inconsistent with the theory of his Infallibility. 

This question, "Which of the papal decisions are 
infallible ? " is indeed momentous to the Roman church 
man. The authors of Janus are profoundly disturbed, 
for instance, to know whether the doctrines of the 
Syllabus produced under Pius IX. in 1864 are or are 
not included among infallible utterances. 

No one will now deny that it was an act of discretion 
on the part of the authors of this book to produce it 

xin.] JANUS 195 

under the veil of anonymity. They would allow no 
opportunity, so the readers were informed, of trans 
ferring the discussion from the sphere of objective and 
scientific investigation into the alien region of personal 

The sensation created by its appearance was very 
great. The Dublin Review} among other expressions, 
declared that the writers of Janus had excluded all 
possibility of mistake as to whether they were 
Catholics. They had " shown that they are just as 
much and just as little Catholics as are Dean Stanley 
and Professor Jowett." "Janus is an openly anti- 
Catholic writer." The Dublin Review laid it down 
that " the Ultramontane doctrine exhibits certainly 
most singular harmony with the whole past course of 
ecclesiastical history"; but it manifested considerable 
embarrassment in determining what papal utterances 
there were which were really issued ex cathedra. 
" There have undoubtedly been very many ex cathedra 
acts not formally addressed to the whole Church," 
said the Dublin Review^ but omitted to add by what 
characteristics infallible utterances might be known. 
Meanwhile Janus was called an almost incredible 
instance of controversial effrontery. 

Dollinger s Dublin critic affirmed that 

" in real truth, through the whole post-Nicene period, 
Pontifical dogmatic letters issued ex cathedra are no 
less undeniable and no less obtrusive matters of 
historical fact than are Ecumenical Councils them 
selves ; they meet the student at every page." 

The Dublin Review forms a very low estimate of 
the intellectual power exhibited in Janus. According 

1 Vol. xiv. N.s. (1870), p. 194. 


to that authority, it was " very difficult to suppose that 
so indubitably and extensively learned a man as Dr 
Dollinger can be mixed up with so poor and feeble a 
production." These criticisms were followed by another 
article, entitled Janus and False Brethren. Here the 
reviewer fulminates against the writers of Janus. 

"There are enemies and traitors in the camp. It is 
not from Protestants only, but from men kneeling at 
the same altars as himself that the Catholic has to 
dread the poisoning of his faith." 

"In number indubitably these false brethren constitute 
no more than a small and insignificant clique. But they 
are energetic, zealous, and restless ; and though their 
intellectual power is sometimes absurdly overrated, 
they comprise one or two really able and learned men 
in their number." 

The general opinion at Rome was that the book was 
certainly composed by the Munich School, and the 
immense historical teaching pointed to one individual, 
known for his life-long familiarity with Papal history.* 
Renewed efforts were made by opponents of Infalli 
bility to induce Dollinger to reside during the Council in 
Rome. Cardinal Schwarzenberg did all that lay within 
his power. Strossmayer, one of the most eloquent 
members of the Council, declared that Dollinger s 
presence was urgently necessary. Maret, the learned 
author of the volumes defending a modified Gallican 
view, entreated Dollinger to overcome his reluctance 
and render this service to the Church. "Although 
without official place," wrote Maret, "your knowledge 
and advice would greatly influence a multitude of unen 
lightened and undecided minds." Bishop Dupanloup 
thought much the same. 

1 Friedrich, iii. p. 489. 

xiii.] DOLLINGER 197 

Dollinger, however, thought otherwise. He came to 
the conclusion that he could be of more real service 
to the cause through the Press. 1 

Bellinger s massive learning and extraordinary 
abilities constituted him naturally the leader in 
Germany against the Ultramontane proposals ; but it 
must never be forgotten that he was only the leader. 
Behind him was a vast body of Bavarian and German 
approval. Meetings and protests and petitions against 
an Infallibility decree sprang up all over Germany. 2 
Munich, Coblentz, Berlin, and many other cities pleaded 
vigorously for the older convictions. A very serious 
anonymous protest 8 circulated through the Bavarian 
Kingdom in May 1869. It solemnly emphasised the 
momentous character of the impending conflict. Two 
antagonistic principles were engaged in final strife for 
supremacy : on the one hand, Papal absolutism ; on the 
other, the genuine Catholicism. The principles of the 
Syllabus declared that the Church had the right to 
resort to coercion, and possessed direct power even in 
temporal affairs. Liberty of conscience and liberty of 
the Press were denied to be human rights. Were these 
principles to be erected by Papal Infallibility into 
dogmas of faith? Was Christendom to witness the 
triumph of absolutism and a new Ultramontane 
confession ? 

An address 4 was sent by the Catholics of Coblentz to 
the Bishop of Treves, dissociating themselves altogether 
from the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. 

"A distinguished religious Order is concentrating all 
its forces upon this project. To be silent would imply 
approval. As Catholics, they feel constrained to protest 

1 Friedrich, iii. p. 518. 2 Documents in Cecconi, iii. p. 312 ff. 
* Ibid. p. 315. 4 Ibid. p. 326. 


to their Bishop that the ideas and hopes of this party, 
who call themselves the only true Catholics, are not and 
never can be theirs. The coming Council would do 
the Church great service if it would suppress the Index 
of prohibited books. To punish the errors of Catholic 
writers by placing their names on the Index is neither 
worthy of the spirit nor the dignity of the Church, and 
is hurtful to the real interests of the advancement of 

This address from the Catholics of Coblentz drew 
from the dying Montalembert l words of impassioned 
admiration. All his old eloquence and fire for a 
moment re-appeared. His end, he said, was near. He 
believed himself possessed of the impartiality which 
is the privilege of death. His body is already a ruin, 
but his spirit lives ; and he turns with a thrill of joy 
to the Catholics of Coblentz. Their protest is sound 
from beginning to end. He could willingly endorse 
every line of it. His only sorrow is that a similar 
spirit does not animate the French ; akin to that which 
filled them in the first half of the nineteenth century. 

The Bavarian Foreign Minister, Prince Hohenlohe 2 
issued enquiries to the Faculties of Theology in the 
Bavarian Universities. The Professors were requested 
in particular to explain what criteria existed for the 
discernment of an infallible decree. 

The Faculty of Wurtzburg replied 3 that, so far as 
the faithful were concerned, it did not much matter 
whether a definition of faith were formulated by the 
Pope after consultation with the Bishops (as in 1854) 
or by an Assembly of Bishops directed by him. It 
is all the same to the individual believer. If one 
has to recognise a human authority in matters of faith, 

1 Documents in Cecconi, iii. p. 339. 2 Memoirs, i. p. 328. 

3 Cecconi, iii. p. 479. 


it is as easy to yield to the decision of one as to 
that of a thousand. Which of these two Christ had 
ordained, this Faculty did not discuss. They thought, 
however, that a kind of Infallibility existed in any 
court of final appeal, and must in a manner be pos 
sessed by the Pope. As to the signs whereby an 
infallible decree might be distinguished from fallible 
utterances, various opinions of theologians were given. 
Some maintained that deep and exhaustive study of 
Scripture and Tradition was an essential preliminary. 
No decree could possess Infallibility unless addressed 
to the entire Church. They recognised that if the 
coming Council were to define Papal Infallibility, it 
would be necessary to make certain modifications in 
the Catechisms of the Church ; but they did not 
consider that the necessary alterations would be very 

The Munich theologians x replied in a very different 
strain. They said that no certain criticism was uni 
versally acknowledged whereby a decree which was 
infallible could be distinguished from those which were 
not. Twenty different opinions were held and dis 
puted about it. If the Council at Rome undertakes 
a definition of Papal Infallibility, it had better 
determine also the nature and conditions of its exercise. 
Otherwise endless disputes and similar insecurity will 
remain. The Bavarian Catechisms spoke only of the 
Infallible Authority of the Church that is, of the Pope, 
together with the entire Episcopate. There existed 
indeed a Jesuit Catechism, recently introduced into 
a number of dioceses, which affirmed that the authority 
of the Church is expressed either by the Pope or by 
a Council approved by him. But this modification 
was obviously designed to transfer the privilege of 
1 Cecconi, iii. p. 524. 


Infallibility entirely and exclusively to the Pope. 
Manifestly therefore a revolutionary alteration would 
have to be made in the diocesan Catechisms if Papal 
Infallibility were decreed. 

That a doctrine contrary to Papal Infallibility was 
being taught as Catholic, under sanction of Episcopal 
Authority, in Germany in the first half of the nine 
teenth century is indisputable. Liebermann s theological 
writings were published in five volumes at Mainz. The 
third edition was in 1831. It was first published with 
the imprimatur of the Vicar-General of Mainz in 1819. 

Liebermann was a distinguished personage in his 
day. He became Superior of the Seminary at Mainz 
and Canon of the Cathedral, afterwards Vicar-General 
of Strasburg. His Institutions Theologicce^ became 
the standard work in many seminaries in France, 
Belgium, Germany and America. 

Liebermann s doctrine is : 

" It is certain from the principles of the Catholic 
Faith that the supreme Pontiff has the chief place 
in determining controversies of Faith ; and that his 
judgment, if the consent of the Church be added, is 
irreformable. But whether his judgment is infallible 
before the Church s consent is a matter open to 
dispute among Catholics without detriment to their 
Catholicity." 2 

To this proposition Liebermann adds : 

" Although there are many saintly and learned men 
among Catholics, who in their regard for the See of 
Peter have taught or still are teaching that the Roman 
Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra cannot err ; yet there 
have always existed very many other theologians who 
have taught the opposite, and these the Church none 
the less considers to be pious and earnest defenders 

1 Lichtenberger, Encyclopedic des Sciences Religreuses. 
3 Liebermann, Institutioncs Theologicce, ii. p. 540. 


of the Faith. Therefore, this question is of the number 
of those which may be disputed without detriment 
to Catholicity." 

His conclusion is that : 

"accordingly the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff 
cannot be urged against heretics, nor utilised to 
establish the Catholic Faith. . . . l Nor can it be 
adduced, even by those who are fully convinced of 
its truth, as a test principle. For nothing can be 
employed as a basis of divine Faith which is not in 
itself indisputable. Neither can that be made the 
rule of faith which itself forms no portion of the 
faith." 2 

The Catechism of the Catholic Religion by Krautheimer, 3 
approved by the Bishop of Mainz in 1845, contains the 
following question and answer : 

" Do we believe that, as a consequence of this primacy, 
the Pope is infallible and may decide as Christ Him 
self; as the non-Catholics allege? 

No. The Pope possesses in controversies of faith 
only a judicial decision which can only become an 
article of faith when the Church gives its concurrence." 

This and similarly worded books of instruction had 
been recently withdrawn in parts of Germany through 
Ultramontane influence, and replaced by a Jesuit 

Philip Neri Chrismann was a Franciscan monk, and 
reader in Theology and Ecclesiastical History. His 
Rule of Catholic Faith was republished at Wurzburg 
in Bavaria, with the permission and approval of his 
ecclesiastical superiors in 1854. In this work on 
Dogmatic Theology he gives an exposition of the 
Infallibility of the Church, its nature and restrictions, 

1 Page 542. 2 Page 543. 3 Page 87. 


without any reference to the Pope. At the close of 
the volume he gives a list of Adiaphora, or things 
indifferent, in which he observes that 

"although the greatest reverence, obedience and sub 
mission be due to the Supreme Pontiff yet he is not 
favoured with the special privilege of inerrancy which 
was given by Christ our Lord only to the Church." 1 

Indeed, the majority of the faithful, and above all the 
Bishops and clergy, did not share in Germany the Ultra 
montane views. 2 The theological faculties of Tubingen 
and Munich were firmly attached to the Episcopal con 
ception, and thereby equally opposed to the autocratic 
Roman idea. Hefele at Tubingen had pronounced, as 
a historian, hardly less distinctly than Dollinger at 

Before obeying the summons to attend the Vatican 
Council, an Assembly of German Bishops was held at 
Fulda (September i869). 3 Some twenty Bishops were 
present. There was Melchers, Archbishop of Cologne, 
who presided ; there was Bellinger s Diocesan, Scherr, 
Archbishop of Munich, well acquainted with the 
historian s principles, and no more an Ultramontane 
than Dollinger himself; there was Ketteler, Bishop of 
Maintz, in whose diocese the recognised Catechism 
had for years instructed the faithful to reject Papal 
Infallibility, and who became one of the most persistent 
opponents of the doctrine to the very last in Rome, 
and in the Pope s own presence ; there was Conrad 
Martin, afterwards an Infallibilist, but at present known 
as author of a widely disseminated handbook in which 
the doctrine was denied ; and there was Hefele, Bishop 

1 Chrismann, Rcgula Fidei, p. 319. 2 Ollivier, i. p. 424. 

3 Cecconi, iv. p. 155. 



elect of Rottenburg, whose History of the Councils told 
heavily against the Ultramontanes. 

The German Episcopate was under no illusions as 
to the introduction of this doctrine into the coming 
deliberations in Rome. Accordingly they set other 
subjects aside 1 to discuss the question. It was declared 
that a question so momentous required the production 
of proofs from Tradition ; proofs of such a kind as 
to satisfy fully the demands of criticism, while leaving 
opponents full liberty of speech. They proceeded to 
examine the opportuneness of any definition. On the 
one side it was declared that Councils hitherto had 
only passed decisions on questions of urgent necessity. 
Now the present subject presented no such necessity. 
There existed no danger, either to the purity of the Faith, 
or to the peace of the Church. Viewed relatively to 
the Oriental Churches, a definition would be altogether 
inopportune. Eastern Christians admit a primacy of 
honour, and might be induced to admit a primacy of 
jurisdiction. But they hold with such tenacity to the 
ancient traditions that it was hopeless to imagine they 
would ever assent to Papal Infallibility. The same 
consideration holds with reference to Protestants. And 
also for the Catholics of Germany the dogma would be 

On the other hand, a member of the Assembly urged 
that by many people the dogma was desired ; that the 
opposition must not be exaggerated ; that the number 
of German Catholics was relatively few ; that the pro 
mulgation of the Immaculate Conception dogma already 
involved implicitly that of Papal Infallibility. 2 

In the following discussion Bishop Hefele spoke with 
strongest emphasis. 3 He had never believed in Papal 

1 Cecconi, ii. p. 459. 
2 Ibid. iv. p. 1 60, 3 Friedrich, ii. p. 190. 


Infallibility. He had studied the history of the Church 
for thirty years ; but nothing could be found for Papal 
Infallibility in the ancient Church. It could not be 
rightly discussed as merely inopportune, for it simply 
was not true. These assertions were opposed. Eventu 
ally a petition was sent to the Pope, declaring the 
doctrine inopportune by a majority of fourteen Bishops 
out of nineteen. 1 Then, as a curiously incongruous 
sequel to their own grave anxieties, the Bishops 
set themselves to the work of re - assuring the Ger 
man Catholics in a Pastoral - which declared that an 
Ecumenical Council would not impose a new dogma, 
a dogma not contained in Scripture and Apostolic 
Tradition ; that they were confident that no obstacle 
would be placed either to the liberty or duration of 
discussion in the Council s deliberations. The Pastoral, 
said a contemporary writer 3 

"contains a promise, worded with all the distinctness 
that could be desired, that, so far as it depends on the 
votes of the German Bishops, the yoke of the new 
articles of faith shall not be laid on the German 

When the King of Bavaria read the Pastoral, he 
congratulated the Bishops on the line adopted, and 
expressed a hope that a similar spirit would prevail 
in the approaching deliberations in Rome. 4 

On the other hand, a distinguished Prelate 5 compared 
the opponents of Infallibility to the possessed at Gadara ; 
and described them as crying piteously, " What have we 
to do with thee, Vicar of Christ?" No one, he said, 
would be deprived of freedom of thought or expression 

1 Cecconi, ii. p. 462. - Ibid. iii. p. 372. 

8 Quirinus, Letters from Rome, p. 36. 
4 Acta, p. 1201. * Acta, p. 1296 (November 1869). 


in the coming Council. No conflict of opinions would 
be there ; nor any parties, as in a political assembly. 

Dollinger, as Janus shows, was the victim of no 
illusions as to the main purpose to which the Vatican 
Council would be directed. Whatever impressions 
might exist in France or elsewhere, the student of 
History did not misinterpret the steady direction of 
events, the persistent intention of the dominant 
influences in the Church. And, although permitted 
no official work among the theologian consultors of 
the Council, he placed at the disposal of the Bishops 
the conclusions of his historical learning, in his 
Considerations respecting the question of Papal 
Infallibility. 1 

Dollinger insisted that the principle by which the 
Church had been hitherto controlled in matters of 
faith was the principle of immutability. To demon 
strate that a doctrine was not the conviction of the 
entire Church, that it was not logically included as 
an undeniable sequence in the original Deposit of 
Revealed Truth, was hitherto regarded as a con 
clusive demonstration that such doctrine could never 
be raised to the dignity of a dogma of the Church. 
Dollinger contended that on this principle the case for 
Papal Infallibility was already adversely determined. 
In the Eastern Church no voice had ever been heard 
to ascribe dogmatic Infallibility to the Pope. The 
doctrine did not arise within the West until the 
thirteenth century. It renders the history of Christen 
dom for the first thousand years an incomprehensible 
enigma : for history exhibits Christendom toiling by 
painful, circuitous methods to secure what, if the Popes 
were infallible, might have been gained in the simplest 
way, from the utterances of a solitary voice in Rome. 

1 See Declarations and Letters ^October 1869). 


Nor is it possible, argued Dollinger, to account for 
the transference of infallible authority from the Church 
to the Pope, as a process of legitimate development. 
The new theory is the negation of the old. The ancient 
doctrine was that the Divine guidance is given to the 
Church collectively. It is the Church, as a whole, 
which cannot fall away. But the Ultramontane theory 
reverses this. It asserts that Divine guidance is given 
not to the Church collectively, but to one individual 
person ; that Infallibility is his alone a prerogative in 
which the Collective Episcopate has no share ; that from 
him alone the Church receives light and truth. This is 
not development. It is negation. Among the Scripture 
passages to which Infallibilists chiefly appealed was the 
exhortation to strengthen his brethren. But this is an 
exhortation, not a promise. " It is a violent perversion to 
turn an admonition to duty into a promise of the invari 
able fulfilment of that duty." Still less can this exhorta 
tion be transferred as a promise to his successors, when 
it was only a personal admonition. It was, moreover, an 
exhortation which Peter himself did not invariably fulfil. 
Far from strengthening the Church at Antioch in the 
faith, he rather perplexed it by his dissimulation. 

Dollinger contended that the historical growth of 
belief in the theory of Papal Infallibility was sufficiently 
instructive. When proposed to the Council of Trent, it 
was withdrawn by the legates who proposed it ; because 
they recognised that a number of the Bishops disapproved 
it. Since that time the influence of the Jesuits and the 
Inquisition had steadily extended the theory, for they 
made the presentation of any other doctrine in books or 
teaching impossible in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Every 
attempt to test the theory by historical criticism had 
been put upon the Index and suppressed, with the solitary 
exception of Bossuet and Cardinal de la Luzerne. 



IN April 1869 Prince Hohenlohe 1 issued a circular, 
composed chiefly by Dollinger, to the Bavarian Lega 
tions, calling their attention to the certainty that 
Infallibility would be discussed, and the probability 
that it would be passed at the approaching Vatican 
Council ; and requesting them to consult the various 
Governments in which they were located as to the 
advisability of some concerted action on the part of 
the European Powers. This step was taken on the 
ground that the Infallibility of the Pope goes far beyond 
the domain of purely religious questions, and has a 
highly political character ; inasmuch as the power of 
the Papacy over all princes and people s secular affairs 
would thereby be defined, and elevated into an article 
of faith. 

The Austrian Government replied to the circular 
that it would be inconsistent for nations accepting the 
principles of religious liberty to offer a system of pre 
ventive and restrictive measures against a movement 
so deeply grounded in the constitution of the Church 
as the assembling of a General Council. It was scarcely 
to be supposed that Bishops of the Catholic world could 
fail to take with them to Rome an accurate acquaint 
ance with the practical necessities of the age. Should 

1 Memoirs^ i. p. 326. 


the approaching Council invade the province of political 
affairs, it will then be time for the Governments to take 
such measures as the case may need. This chilling 
response made Prince Hohenlohe extremely indignant. 
He declared that he had never proposed preventive 
or restrictive measures, but asked what attitude the 
Governments proposed to adopt toward the Council. 
To delay until a decree was passed would leave the 
Government no power except to protest. 

" We believe," he wrote, 1 " that we are not mistaken 
when we maintain that not one of the Austrian Bishops 
will attempt to oppose the proclamation of the dogma 
of Infallibility. In this dogma lies the future of 
Ultramontanism ; in it lies the kernel of the absolutist 
organisation of the hierarchy. It is the crowning of 
the work for which the Ultramontane party has been 
striving for years ; and no Bishop will dare to move a 
step in opposition to this aim. The hierarchy will 
come out of the Council stronger and more powerful, 
and begin the battle against modern civilization with 
renewed strength." 

Unsupported, however, by the Austrian and other 
Governments, the Bavarian could, of course, do nothing. 

" The Bavarian Government," wrote Hohenlohe, 2 " has 
thereby, indeed, forfeited the sympathy of the Society 
of Jesus, if indeed it ever had it; but it has won the 
approval of all good Catholics who are not under the 
influence of that Society." 

Bismarck declared that the movement in Bavaria had 
resulted in increasing caution and conciliatoriness in 
Rome. Prince Hohenlohe was in intimate contact with 
Rome and its affairs through his brother the Cardinal, 
who fully concurred with his antipathy to things 

1 Memoirs, p. 338. 2 Ibid. p. 356. 


Ultramontane. Most instructive are the confidential 
utterances of the Cardinal to the statesman, lamenting 
the dominant influences on the eve of the Vatican 

" Perhaps the Holy Father is still deliberating," writes 
the Cardinal in September 1869, about two months 
before the Council opened, " but I doubt it. With all 
my respect for the Supreme Head of the Church, my 
obedience will be put to a severe test. I trust that God 
will help me. I often ask myself, What shall I do in 
these storms ? " 

He feels himself isolated, and deliberately ignored 
by the ruling authorities. He writes that Dollinger 
could come to live with him in Rome. He will receive 
into his own house any trustworthy theologian to 
assist him while the Council proceeds. The Jesuits, 
he says, have raised the question of Infallibility as a 

"The Pope is charmed with the idea, without the 
least notion what the Jesuit party is saying and 
doing. Touched by their devotion, he in his blindness 
embraces the whole Order as the saviour of his honour 
in the (quite unnecessarily raised) question of his 
Infallibility. . . . The Infallibility question has thrown 
Pius IX. so completely into the arms of the Jesuits, that 
of all his plans and ideas against them not a trace 
remains. The good fathers know that they can keep 
a firm hold on Pius IX. only if he is driven into a 
corner and must fly to them for help." 

It was arranged that Friedrich should go to Rome as 
Cardinal Hohenlohe s theologian ; but that he was to 
live at the Cardinal s was to be kept profoundly secret. 
"He should give some other reason, such as that he 
wants to see Rome, or the like. You will understand 
that better than I can tell you," says the Cardinal to 



his statesman-brother. 1 Meanwhile Prince Hohenlohe 
was with Dollinger in Munich. He was there when 
Dollinger received an autograph letter from the King 
of Bavaria, praising his pamphlet against Infallibility. 
The Cardinal wrote again from Rome 2 to say: 

" There will be many a sharp tussle, and I fear the 
Ultramontane party will have the majority. They are 
impudent and reckless, and though at the present 
moment the Pope is somewhat out of humour, owing 
to various manifestations, such as Dupanloup, etc., yet 
I think that at the crucial moment the impudent party 
will endeavour to outshout all the others." 3 

But the helplessness of the opposition is curiously 
illustrated in the same letter. Cardinal Schwarzenberg, 
a strong advocate of the minority, wanted greatly to 
get Dollinger to Rome ; yet he could not decide to send 
for him as his theologian. Cardinal Hohenlohe wanted 
greatly to receive the German Bishops at his house 
every week, yet he could not make up his mind to do 
it. He is afraid the Pope would forbid them to assemble 
at his house. By February 1870 difficulties increased 
vastly. " The situation," wrote Dollinger to Hohenlohe 
" becomes more grave and threatening." It was just 
announced that the Archbishop of Munich intended to 
go over to the Infallibilists. Friedrich was by this time 
lodged with Cardinal Hohenlohe in Rome, who was 
" managing to keep him in spite of all enemies." 4 
" Stupidity and fanaticism," wrote the Cardinal, 
" are dancing a Tarantella together, accompanied by 
such discordant music that one can hardly see or 

Friedrich is, of course, a violent partisan, and no 

1 Memoir -s, p. 369. 2 November 1869. 

3 Ibid. p. 375. 4 Ibid. ii. 3. 


more capable of historical impartiality than Veuillot or 
Manning. At the same time much may be ascertained 
from each. Friedrich kept a diary through the critical 
months of the sessions in Rome, which he afterwards 
published. He had access to numerous distinguished 
personages. He exerted, in his characteristically 
German and professorial manner, no inconsiderable 
influence on the theology of his master. He met 
everybody in the Cardinal s rooms. Accustomed to 
the freedom of a German University, with unlimited 
access to literature of every kind, Friedrich finds him 
self in a city under mediaeval restrictions. Modern 
theology of an anti-Infallibilist type could scarcely be 
obtained at all in Rome, nor could it be smuggled 
into the city through the post, nor printed in Rome, 
nor could it be found in the libraries to which Friedrich 
had access. Letters were opened in the post, or 
permanently detained, as the authorities chose. The 
police were ecclesiastical officials acting in the interests 
of the Ultramontanes. Dressel, a learned German, 
editor of an edition of the Apostolic Fathers, was 
visited in Rome by a police officer, and informed that 
he must leave the city for having written letters to 
the Augsburg Gazette, in collaboration with Professor 
Friedrich. Dressel protested that he had done nothing 
of the kind. The only answer was that such were his 
orders from the Vatican. Dressel appealed to Cardinal 
Hohenlohe ; also, and more effectively, to the Prussian 
Ambassador, who made such emphatic moves that the 
papal police did not venture on any further steps 
against him. 

Veuillot, who was then in Rome, got the follow 
ing criticisms on Cardinal Hohenlohe and Professor 
Friedrich published in his journal, L } Univers, which he 
edited in France. 


11 The Governor of the Eternal City, who is also head 
of the police has at length discovered the source of the 
indiscretions, by which the secrets of the Council have 
been betrayed. Suspicion had long rested on Abb 
Friedrich, whom Cardinal Ilohenlohe brought from 
Bavaria as his theologian dining the Council. The 
Abbe, in spite of protection from the Bavarian Legation, 
has been compelled to leave Rome, Cardinal Hohenlohe 
himself being anxious to dismiss an ecclesiastic who had 
betrayed his confidence. It was reported in Rome that 
the instigator of these deplorable disloyalties was Prince 
Hohenlohe, President of the Bavarian Government." 

Meanwhile Friedrich, neither expelled nor dismissed, 
was quietly residing in Rome and copying this extract 
into his diary, with the thoughtful reflection : " I 
wonder what part I am destined to play in an Ultra 
montane history of the Vatican Council." Thus 
Friedrich heard and saw many things. He heard 
Bishop Hefele, on a visit to Cardinal Hohenlohe, say 
that for thirty years he had sought for evidence on 
Infallibility, and had never found it. To the same 
house Hefele returned another day with a copy of 
Jiis pamphlet against Honorius. The chief value of 
the work to Friedrich s mind consisted in the fact that, 
as Bishop, Hefele did not repudiate German theology. 

Friedrich s own line of action if the doctrine became 
decreed was perfectly clear. He had no intention of 
bowing before the storm, or of yielding an external 
acquiescence to that which he inwardly discredited. A 
criticism which appeared in the Univers indicated, in 
the plainest terms, the future alternatives awaiting 
the adherents of Janus, and indeed the opposition in 

" Are they decided," asked Veuillot, " to remain 
Catholics after the Definition ? If they say no, their 


Catholicity is already condemned. If yes, they are pre 
paring for themselves an act of faith and obedience 
scarcely reasonable. For they now affirm that the 
doctrine is contrary to the facts of history. Will they 
believe that black is white because the Council says so, 
investing it with a power to convert the false into true ? " 

Friedrich agreed with Veuillot to this extent, that 
history cannot be reversed by a conciliar decision. But 
Friedrich did not attempt to conceal his conviction that 
the Vatican Council was not Ecumenical. The regula 
tions imposed upon it, from without, by the papal power, 
infringed its freedom of action, and kept it at the mercy 
of the majority. To his mind there was little interest 
or importance in the speeches delivered in the Council, 
since the initiative and the moving power lay elsewhere. 
He wrote dissertations, for the Cardinal Hohenlohe s 
instruction, contrasting the principles of the earlier 
Councils with the modern regulations. He affirmed that, 
according to ancient precedent, the right of introducing 
subjects lay with the Council itself, and not with the 
Papal See ; that the Council and not the Pope possessed 
the power to define. But he saw that his own career 
as Professor of Theology was at an end, if the Ultra- 
montanes should succeed. To continue in his former 
capacity would be in that case to incur the reproach : 
" You are a cowardly hypocrite, a liar ; for you speak 
against what you know to be the witness of scientific 

We owe to Friedrich the following letter, in which an 
Oriental Bishop who had ventured to sign a protest in 
Rome against the -Infallibilist theory, makes an abject 
recantation : 

" Most Holy Father, 1 I entreat you to listen with 
condescension and benevolence to the humblest of your 

1 From Friedrich s Tagebuch. 


beloved sons and the humblest of Bishops, who ventures, 
prostrate before your feet, to address a few words to 
your Holiness. I confess that I signed my name to the 
Appeal which was presented to you, most clement 
Father, by certain Oriental Bishops, entreating you with 
all humility and reverence not to yield to a request 
signed by the majority of Bishops that the Vatican 
Council should be directed to define the Infallibility of 
the Roman Pontiff. I signed my name to the Appeal, 
chiefly on the ground of the difficulties which such a 
decree of such a kind might create among schismatics 
if misunderstood and misinterpreted ; also on the 
ground of the difficulty in reconciling with such a 
definition the facts about Pope Honorius. But I had 
no other ground of objection than these. I was not 
actuated by any other human or less honourable motive ; 
nor by party spirit ; nor, as certain ill-disposed persons 
have maliciously insinuated, and which God forbid, by any 
hostile or disrespectful sentiment either toward yourself, 
most Holy Father, or towards the Apostolic Roman 
See, which is the fortress of truth and of religion, the 
immortal centre of our glory. Nevertheless, consider 
ing that certain newspapers have most unreasonably 
inferred from this Appeal that the Orientals were hostile 
towards the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See ; con 
sidering also that other newspapers have made it an 
opportunity for advancing and strengthening the so- 
called Gallican views, identifying us with them, whereas 
we have never really had anything in common ; whereas, 
both as teacher in theology and as Bishop, I have 
always held and taught the belief that the judgment of 
the Sovereign Pontiff, speaking ex cathedra as universal 
doctor by the institution of Jesus Christ, and as head of 
the Immaculate Church, must be actually irreform- 
able ; having accordingly studied the subject more 
deeply and the consequences involved ; having also 
made myself familiar with the replies to the exaggerated 
and blamable tracts of the priest Gratry, particularly 
the excellent and solid refutation recently composed 
by Father Ramiere of the Society of Jesus ; finally having 


had the good fortune to meet with a very ancient 
manuscript of a history composed by a Nestorian, con 
taining a convincing exculpation of Pope Honorius from 
all error in faith : for these reasons and for other con 
scientious motives, I feel myself constrained to affirm, 
most Holy Father, not only that belief in the inerrancy 
of the Sovereign Pontiff when deciding ex cathedra in 
matters of faith and morals, is mine, and that I have 
always held it, but also that under the circumstances it 
appears to me reasonable, by no means dangerous on 
the contrary, very advisable that the Universal Council 
should dogmatically determine that the Infallibility or 
supreme authority exercised by the Sovereign Pontiff 
as universal doctor of the Church is of the institution 
of Christ, is founded in Holy Scripture and in Tradi 
tion, consequently that it is of faith. I declare it 
in the simplicity of my heart. This is demanded by 
truth and theological thought. This is demanded by 
the pure doctrine of the Roman Church. This by great 
good fortune I inbibed in my youth in its purest source, 
the Roman College of the Propaganda itself. This I 
have defended. It is demanded by the opposition of 
men of malignant intentions against the Holy See. It 
is demanded by the intolerable violence of the enemies 
of our religion and of the Holy Roman See. It is 
demanded by our love and our reverence for the 
Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See. It is demanded by 
our honour. Finally it is demanded by the authority 
of many doctors, and, in the words of St Augustine, by 
the entire Catholic Church." 

Signed by the Chaldee Archbishop KHAYATH. 1 
March i. 

Friedrich continued to reside in Rome till the I3th of 
May. Some time before this he felt that his work was 
done. He was anxious to leave. " I neither will nor 
can be any longer," he wrote, " a witness in this place 
to the oppression of the Church." 

1 Friedrich, Tagebuch> p. 319, 

216 HOHENLOHE [CHAP. xiv. 

In a farewell visit to the Archbishop of Munich, Scherr 
congratulated Friedrich on his ability to return home, 
and expressed a wish that he could do the same. The 
Archbishop took the opportunity of sending a message 
to Dollinger, advising him to restrain his energies. The 
Bishops had done and were doing their duty. Scherr 
strongly impressed upon Friedrich the necessity of 
making his influence felt with Cardinal Hohenlohe. If 
only a Cardinal resident in Rome itself had but the 
courage to utter an emphatic non placet in the Council, 
the Bishops would be greatly strengthened to follow suit. 
Friedrich disowned the possession of any such influence 
as the Archbishop ascribed to him, but promised 
to report to the Cardinal the Archbishop s desires. 
Friedrich left Rome with a strong foreboding that 
personal Infallibility would certainly be defined. 



WHEN Pius IX. had finally resolved on assembling a 
Council he proceeded without delay to the necessary 
preparations. These preparations may be classified as 
twofold : those within the Roman Communion, and 
those relating to other religious bodies. 

I. /The internal preparations were largely entrusted to 
a Commission of Cardinals, selected for that purpose. 
The Cardinals reported to the Pope upon the follow 
ing points. 

First came the important problem, to determine who 
were qualified for membership in a Council of the 
Church. The Episcopate, of course, without all doubt. 
But did this apply only to Bishops possessing diocesan 
jurisdiction, or did it include those who possessed no 
definite See? It was urged that the latter were just 
as really Bishops as the former, and that their omission 
might raise disputes on the Council s validity. It was 
accordingly decided that, with the Pope s approval, 
titular Bishops as well as diocesan were qualified for 
seats in the coming Assembly. 

The case of Abbots and generals of religious Orders 
was considered next. If these did not possess episcopal 
authority, they possessed at least a real, a semi-episcopal 
jurisdiction ; being themselves superiors over a consider 
able multitude, and also exempt from episcopal control. 



This quasi-episcopal position was considered by the 
Congregation to qualify them for admission to the 
Vatican Council. These decisions were of great signi 
ficance, as they added, it is said, almost two hundred 
votes. 1 

Secondly, as to regulations for procedure, 2 the 
Cardinals asserted that the Pope alone had the right 
to introduce matters for discussion. Otherwise, argued 
the Cardinals, the Council would become a constitu 
tional chamber. But a Council is only summoned to 
discuss what the Pope desires to have discussed ; not to 
introduce their individual conceptions of what ought to 
be done. If any reminiscences of the principles of 
Constance, Pisa, and Basle floated before the Cardinals 
memories ; if any distant echo of their predecessors 
intention to reform the Church in its head and members 
haunted them ; it was instantly condemned by the 
theory now introduced. By way of dispelling the 
possible objection that the Pope might omit important 
matters, the Cardinals observed that it is an unlikely 
thing, that it must be left to Providence, and that you 
cannot expect perfection in human affairs. Whatever, 
therefore, the Bishops desire to introduce for conciliar 
discussion, they must report it, not to the Council, but to 
the Pope or to his representative ; and the Pope will 
determine whether its introduction is desirable or not. 
The Cardinals recommend that a Commission should 
be created for this purpose. 

In the third place, it was thought desirable that four 
permanent Commissions should be formed : one on 
faith ; one on discipline ; one on religious orders ; 
one on missions. It was suggested that two - thirds 
of the members should be chosen by the Bishops 
and one-third by the Pope. Pius, however, decided 

1 Friedrich, Dollingcr, iii. p. 2o6ff. a Cecconi, i. p. 165. 


that the selection should be entirely left to the 

Another question creating no inconsiderable discus 
sion was whether the Bishops should be required to 
pronounce a profession of faith. The problem was 
whether the dogma of the Immaculate Conception 
should be included. It was contained in no existing 
formula of faith. Some were adverse to its introduction. 
Others thought it impossible for the Council to ignore 
the existence of this dogma. Some again held that 
since the dogma had already been declared by the 
Pope, there could be no necessity to insert it in a 
Council s decree. For this reason it ought to be 
recited in the profession of faith. Nevertheless it was 
held wiser not to introduce it, for fear of producing 
upon the Bishops a bad impression. Accordingly it 
was decided to fall back on the Creed of the Council 
of Trent. 

In the Commission a discussion was also held on 
the burning question of pontifical Infallibility. Two 
questions were raised : Was it definable ? was it 
opportune ? The former was answered in the affirma 
tive. So was the latter, but with the proviso that it 
ought not to be proposed by the Holy See, except at 
the request of the Bishops. Accordingly no further 
mention was made of the subject in the Cardinal s 
report. Nevertheless they did not cease to study it. 

2. The external preparation for the Council, beyond 
the limits of the Roman body, consisted in a series of 
letters and announcements to the other Churches of 

Three Papal letters were issued in reference to the 
Council s actual assembling. 1 

1 Cecconi, i. p. 379. 


First the Bull summoning the Bishops of the Roman 
Communion [29th June 1869], together with the Abbots, 
and all persons qualified either by right or privilege ; 
requiring them, and exhorting them by their fidelity 
to the Roman See, and under the penalties appointed 
for disobedience, to attend at the Vatican on 8th 

Was it accident or design which twice over introduced 
into this letter the famous phrase majorem Dei gloriam ? 
Certainly it was not accident which omitted from the 
enumeration of the Council s uses and purposes all 
reference to the problem of pontifical Infallibility, and 
rested content with a general allusion to the wise 
ordering of those things which pertain to defining 
dogmas of faith. 

A second letter x was directed to the Bishops of the 
Oriental rite not in communion with the Apostolic See. 
In this letter a solicitude is expressed for all Christians 
everywhere ; more especially for those Churches which 
were formerly united with the Apostolic See, but now 
by the machinations of the Author of all schisms are 
unhappily parted. The Oriental Bishops are entreated 
to come to this General Synod, as their fathers came 
to that of Florence in order to be reunited to the 
Apostolic See, which is the centre of Catholic truth 
and unity. 

Another letter 2 was directed to all Protestants and 
other non-Catholics. They are aware that Pius has 
thought it desirable to summon all Catholic Bishops 
to a Council at Rome. He is confident that this will 
issue to the greater glory of God. He calls upon them 
to reconsider whether they are following the way pre 
sented by Christ. No community can form a part 

1 Cecconi, i. p. 387 (8th September 1868). 

2 Ibid. p. 390 (i3th September 1868). 


of the Catholic Church if visibly severed from Catholic 
unity. Such communities are destitute of that Divinely 
constituted authority which insures against variation 
and instability. Accordingly he exhorts and beseeches 
them to return to the one fold of Christ. 

The replies of the Oriental Churches claim inde 
pendence and equality. The Greek Patriarch at 
Constantinople declared that the Oriental Church 
would never consent to abandon the doctrine which 
it held from the Apostles, transmitted by the Holy 
Fathers, and the eight Ecumenical Councils. The 
Ecumenical Council is the supreme tribunal to which 
all Bishops, Patriarchs, and Popes are subjected. 

The Armenian Patriarch criticised the Pope s action 
with severity ; asserted that the principles of equality 
and apostolic brotherhood had not been observed by 
the Pope. The rank which the Canons ascribe to the 
Papal See only give him the right to address personal 
letters to the Bishops and Synods of the East, but 
not to impose upon them his will by encyclicals in 
the tone of a master. The Armenian Patriarch wrote 
to the Catholicos of Ecmiazin to say that "the 
Patriarch of the Roman Church Pius IX." had sent 
a letter, announcing a Council. The Catholicos replied 
that the tone of the Pope s letter gave no hope that 
union would be realised : for it did not acknowledge 
the chief Pastors of the Eastern Church as equals in 
honour and dignity. And yet they are successors of 
the Apostles. They have received the same authority 
from the Holy Spirit as the Roman Patriarch. 

The attitude of the German Protestants was un 
compromising. The Nuncio in Bavaria wrote to 
Antonelli that the Germans regarded the invitation as 
an insult. There might be individual conversions, but 
certainly not a general return. The common opinion was : 


the Pope invites us graciously to put ourselves at the 
mercy of the Council ; but the bird which has escaped 
rejoices in its liberty. There existed a vague, indeter 
minate desire for unity, but entire diversity as to the 
basis for its realisation ; and the personal interest of 
the Pastors was against unity. 

From Berlin came this criticism on the Pope s letter : 
" We hold it impossible to find in this letter the least 
indication of really conciliatory spirit on the basis of 
evangelical truth." The Protestants assembled at Worms 
declared that the principal cause of the divisions which 
they deplored was the spirit and action of the Jesuit 
Society. This Society which, according to their view, 
was the deadly foe of Protestantism, stifled all freedom 
of thought, and dominated the entire existing Roman 
Church. If the permanent union and well-being of 
Christendom was to be secured, hierarchical pretensions 
must be laid aside. Elsewhere the resolution was passed 
to ignore the Pope s invitation, as being merely a matter 
of form. 

An American Presbyterian reply to the Pope s 
letter said, that while firmly convinced that the unity 
of the Church is the will of Christ, they felt it a duty 
to state the reasons why they cannot unite in the 
deliberations of the coming Council. It is not that 
they reject a single article of the Catholic Religion. 
They are no heretics. They accept the Apostles Creed 
and the doctrinal decisions of the first six General 
Councils. But they cannot assent to the doctrines of 
the Council of Trent. The barrier which this Council 
has erected between them and Rome is insurmountable. 

Certainly nothing was further from the Pope s inten 
tions than to invite members or representatives of any 
other Communion to discussion. All he intended was 
to advise them to profit by this occasion, to submit 


and secure their eternal salvation. If, said Pius, they 
would only seek with all their hearts, they would 
easily lay aside their preconceived opinions, and return 
to their Father from whom they have so unhappily 
departed. He would receive them with paternal 
benevolence. And then, with a scarcely diplomatic 
allusion to the prodigal who had wasted his substance 
in riotous living, Pius declared he would rejoice to say, 
" These my sons were dead and are alive again ; they 
were lost, and are found." 1 

In the English Church opinion was divided as to the 
manner and spirit in which the Pope s letter should be 
met. Bishop Wordsworth of Lincoln 2 replied in a 
Latin letter. He assumed that the English Church was 
included in the letter addressed to all Protestants ; 
and accepted the title in the sense of protesting 
against errors contrary to the Catholic Faith. He 
resented the tone and temper of the Pope s appeal ; 
the judgment implied on the validity of the English 
Episcopate ; protested that we have never seceded 
from the Catholic Church, nor separated willingly even 
from the Church of Rome ; criticised in particular the 
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as an instance 
of indisputable variation ; and added certain unhappy 
exegetical remarks of an apocalyptic character on the 
relation between Rome and Babylon. This line of 
response probably represented no inconsiderable element 
at the period at which it was written. 

On the other hand, a section existed in the English 
Church, keenly alive to its local deficiencies, and 
possessed with strong and enthusiastic aspirations for 
corporate reunion. In their opinion, faults of taste 
and assumptions due to Italian ignorance or other 

1 Cecconi, ii. p. 304. 

2 Miscellanies Lit. and Religious, i. p. 330, in Latin ; transl. p. 344. 


points of view, might well be overlooked, if not con 
doned, in the interests of what appeared to be a 
genuine desire for unity. A resentful and criticising 
spirit seemed only calculated to frustrate all hope of 
better things. The magnificence of the coming 
Assembly, the grandeur of its scale, the regions it 
involved, the Churches it included, captivated their 
imaginations. Whatever might be the individual view 
of the relative position of the separated portions of the 
great Christian family, such a gathering as this must 
enlist their respect, their sympathy, and their prayers. 
They pleaded earnestly for corporate reunion. As the 
separation was corporate, so must the reconciliation be. 
They insisted as strenuously as any other members of 
the Anglican Communion on the impossibility under 
present circumstances of doing anything else than 
remain where they are. 1 

"You require us, for instance, to say not formally 
indeed, but in effect that we have no priest and no 
sacraments ; whilst it is quite plain to us that our present 
Episcopate is in all respects the true and lineal 
descendant of the Apostolic Mission in this land. 
You require us to renounce communion with the 
Church of England on the ground that she is heretical ; 
we, on the other hand, are convinced that there is 
nothing in her authorised teaching which you do not 
yourselves teach in your own pulpits and Catechisms. 
That she is actually separated from the centre of 
visible Catholic unity is a fact deplorable indeed, but 
too patent to be questioned ; that she is wilfully, 
avowedly, and therefore guiltily schismatical we utterly 
deny ; to say that we ourselves are schismatics is 
simply to give the lie to the most cherished longing 
of our hearts. No ! we must remain where God has 
placed us, loyal to our own Communion and to our 

1 G. F. Cobb, Few Words on Reunion (1869), p. 6. 


own Episcopate, loyal at the same time (in spirit) to 
yours : if we are not of the body of your Church, we 
belong at any rate to its sou/" 

After this vigorous declaration of principles and 
loyalty the reunionist felt justified in confessing the 
defects within the Anglican Communion of which he 
was painfully conscious. 

" Need we, after all, be so very angry at being classed 
with Protestants if it be true that we have been so 
when at least half our brother Churchmen rejoice at it, 
and are never tired of proclaiming to the world that we 
are a Protestant Church, a creation of the sixteenth 
century, specially commissioned to wage war with the 
Papal anti-Christ to the end of time ? Even regarding 
our Communion from the most favourable point of view, 
can we say that she has done very much during the 
centuries of her separation from the Holy See towards 
vindicating her Catholicity even in the Anglican sense 
of the word ? Does she present herself to her Catholic 
brethren on the Continent in any very marked contrast 
to the Protestant sects ? " 

Thus there was at least in certain directions within the 
Anglican Communion a distinct readiness to respond 
to any overtures for unity. There was in addition a 
very wide-spread interest in the coming Council, not 
unmixed with curiosity and anxiety as to the steps 
which might be taken to bring the severed sections of 
Christendom nearer together. 

By far the most penetrating and profound on the 
Anglican side was Dr Pusey. Perfectly clear and 
sure of his position, whole-hearted in his devotion to 
his own Communion, he insisted that the English 
Church must be treated collectively: as a portion of 
the Church Catholic, to be reunited ; not as individuals, 



to be absorbed. He was in correspondence with the 
Bishop of Orleans and the Archbishop of Paris. With 
this aim he wrote his Eirenicon, Is Healthful Reunion 
Impossible? The Belgian Jesuit De Buck corresponded 
with Bishop Forbes of Brechin. The Jesuit Father 

" was certain that at Rome there was no wish for 
Infallibility." He " maintained that every one at Rome 
was astonished to hear that the Anglican Bishops did 
not consider the command to attend the Council as 
addressed to them." 1 

Attempts were made by Newman to induce Pusey 
to visit Rome ; or at least to get up a big petition 
and present it to the Holy See ; 2 quietly observing at 
the same time that the sort of petition which he had 
in view " cuts off the subscribers to it from the exist 
ing Establishment;" 3 Newman also suggested that 
no Anglican Bishops should go. Pusey replied by 
enquiring why should not Newman himself go to 
Rome for the Council. Dupanloup invited him as 
his theologian. But Newman declined, on the pretext 
that he was not a theologian, and would only be 
wasting his time in matters which he did not under 
stand. 4 

Not unnaturally, Pusey s penetrating criticism was : 

"If they invited any, it should be Bishops. Theo 
logians go to accompany their Bishops. They have 
ignored our Bishops, and ask any of us whom they 
may ask informally, because they will deliberately 
withhold all acknowledgement of the slightest basis 
upon which we can treat as a Church." 6 

" I have no doubt," Pusey added, " that the invitation 
to Rome is given in the hope that the imposing spectacle 
presented by the Council may bring about individual 

1 Liddon s Life of Pusey, iv. p. 186. 
2 Page 155. 3 Page 182. 4 Page 161. 5 Page 180. 


conversions of English Churchmen more or less learned 
or well known. But what can we expect when they 
invited the great Greek Church simply to submit? 
I expect nothing under the present Pope." 1 

"The difficulty of treating is this, that we have two 
entirely distinct objects: we, corporate reunion upon 
explanation of certain points where they have laid 
down a minimum and upon a large range beyond 
it ; they, individual conversions or the absorption 
of us." 

Meanwhile, Pusey prepared an edition of Cardinal 
Torquemada s great work, against the doctrine of the 
Immaculate Conception, originally composed for use 
at the Council of Basle at the instigation of Pope 
Paul III. This edition Pusey dedicated to the Council 
about to be held in Rome. He sent copies to Rome 
for the Bishop of Orleans, and other members of the 
Council. These were returned from Rome with refuse 
written upon them. 2 Pusey wrote to Newman to 
enquire what this meant. Newman answered that he 
was certain that the Bishop to whom the books were sent 
would not be guilty of such incivility ; and suggested 
a suspicion that the Roman police would not pass a 
book with Pusey s name. This suspicion proved correct. 
Newman wrote again : " I had a very kind letter from 
Bishop Clifford, telling me that neither he nor the Bishop 
of Orleans had refused my book, and asking me to send 
it to him at Clifton." 3 But these despotic methods of 
government at the end of the nineteenth century were 
hardly conducive to the advancement of mutual under 
standing, or indeed to the interests of truth. The 
movements at Rome were watched by Pusey with 
ever-deepening sorrow : 

" Manning s is a strange lot," he wrote " with, 

1 Liddon s Life of Pusey, iv. p. 181. * Page 190. * Page 192, 


I should have thought, but a very moderate share 
of learning, by throwing himself into the tide, to 
seem to be at the head of a movement which should 
revolutionise the Church. It is a mysterious lot, one 
which one would not like for oneself. The composition 
of the Congregation on Dogma has discouraged us. 
Those whom we should have had most confidence in, 
Mgrs. Dupanloup and Darboy, omitted, and Manning 
in it. It is utterly hopeless to send any propositions 
to a Congregation in which Manning should be a 
leading member. I am told that he has been impress 
ing the Council, or at least important Bishops, with 
the idea that hundreds of thousands of the English 
would join the Roman Communion if the Infallibility 
were declared." 1 

Pusey s biographers say that 

"as the meetings of the Council went on, Pusey had 
really very little hope of any wise result." 2 

" In all later issues of his third Eirenicon, Pusey 
altered the title from Is Healthful Reunion Possible ? 
to a form which embodied his future attitude towards 
the Roman question Healthful Reunion, as conceived 
possible before the Vatican Council. " 3 

1 Liddon s Life of Pusey, iv. p. 189. 2 Page 190. 3 Page 193. 



THE Council of the Vatican was opened on the Feast 
of the Immaculate Conception (8th December I869). 1 
There was significance in the selection of the day. 
That very day, fifteen years before, Pius IX. had 
proclaimed a new dogma on the Virgin ; and, as a 
fervid prelate assured him, he who had declared the 
Virgin immaculate was now to be proclaimed by her 
infallible. The Council was held in the South Transept 
of St Peter s, and at the opening service seven hundred 
and two members were present. 2 So large an Assembly 
had never been held before. The proportions of the 
two opinions were roughly between four and five 
hundred Infallibilists and between one and two hundred 
opponents of the doctrine. 

Meetings of the Council were of two kinds : the 
ordinary Congregations, at which none but members 
and officials were permitted to be present, while the 
proceedings were secret ; the Public Sessions, at which 
the public were admitted, and the Decrees proclaimed. 
Of the former kind there were in all eighty - nine, 
of the latter four. Only two, however, of the Public 
Sessions declared matters decreed : for the first was 
entirely occupied with ceremonial, and at the second 

1 Ada. 3 Ibid. 




(6th January) no Decrees were ready; it was accord 
ingly devoted to recitals of the Creed of the Council of 
Trent. The Pope was never present except at the four 
Public Sessions. He exerted his influence without com 
promising his dignity. 

The secrecy of the proceedings was thoroughly in 
accordance with the Italian disposition. Every official 
and member of the Council was sworn to observe it. 
But the regulation proved ineffective, partly because 
the Pope himself released certain members of the 
majority from the necessity of its observance, and 
partly because the incessant discussions in unofficial 
assemblies of the Bishops could not easily escape 
publicity. Much information leaked out in various 
directions and appeared in print. 

The influence of Pius IX. upon the Council was 
exercised partly through official documents. Three 
important papers 1 were issued by him to the Council 
during its early period : The Constitution on Procedure 
(i8th December 1869); on Election to the Papacy in 
case of a Vacancy (ist January 1870) ; on Absolving 
from Ecclesiastical Censures (i5th January 1870). The 
significance of the last may be measured by the follow 
ing description. Its effect was "to cancel episcopal 
encroachments on the Papal authority." 2 The second 
was intended to prevent any assertion of power by 
the Council in case the Pope might die. 

But far the most important of these three Constitu 
tions was that which regulated the Council s procedure 
(multiplices inter). This remarkable document asserted 
that the right of proposing subjects for discussion 
belonged to the Papal See, but that the Pope never 
theless desired and exhorted the Bishops to give in 
their proposals to a Congregation appointed for that 

1 Acta. 3 Ollivier, i, p. 460. 


purpose, The value of the concession was qualified 
by the fact that the Congregation in question was 
selected entirely by the Pope, and was composed of 
Ul tramontanes. 

All the officers of the Council, including the five 
Presidents, were appointed by the Pope on his own 
authority ; and their names were given in this Decree. 
The details of procedure were also therein defined. No 
Bishop was to leave without the Pope s permission. 

This certainly was a striking document. The French 
statesman, Ollivier, says that " its novelty, its boldness, 
its audacity is only realised when compared with the 
proceedings at Trent." l At Trent the Regulations were 
determined by the Bishops themselves. 

When the Vatican Council began its work, several 
Bishops, including the Archbishop of Paris, attempted 
to protest against the restrictions imposed upon them ; 
but the presiding Cardinal suppressed all objections 
with a declaration that the Pope had so ordained, and 
that his decisions could not be called in question. To 
this declaration the minority submitted. Thereby in 
effect they acknowledged the Pope s power to determine 
the Regulations. This has been called " the first of the 
feeblenesses, or to speak more indulgently, the resigna 
tions of the minority." 2 

The actual product of the Vatican Council consists 
of two Dogmatic Constitutions known respectively by 
their opening words as the Constitution Dei Filius 
and the Constitution Pastor ^Eternus. Of these the 
former was proclaimed in the third Public Session, 
the latter in the fourth Public Session. The contents 
of the former are the doctrine of God, of Revelation, 
of Faith, and of the relation between Faith and 
Reason. The latter contains the Ultramontane theory 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 466. z Ibid. ii. pp. 21-23. 


of the Papacy, and especially the dogma of the Pope s 
Infallibility. It is with this last subject exclusively 
that we are concerned. 

This subject of Papal Infallibility was not mentioned 
among the causes for which the Council was assembled, 
nor was it introduced into the discussion for the first 
three months. During that period the Bishops atten 
tion was devoted to discussions on faith ; the dis 
cipline of the clergy ; the project of the compilation 
of a new Catechism, for universal use, in place of all 
local Catechisms in the Roman body. Matters such 
as these occupied the first twenty-eight Congregations. 
But progress was excessively slow : partly owing to 
the reluctance of the minority to proceed, under fear 
of what the future would produce, and under dislike of 
various extreme measures proposed to them. It seems 
clear that the Roman authorities had not anticipated 
so much persistent opposition, At the end of three 
months, minority-Bishops said with relief, "We have 
done nothing, and that is a great deal." The Dogmatic 
Constitution on faith was expected to be ready for 
the second Public Session on 6th January. But when 
the date arrived the doctrine was not ready. Conse 
quently the entire Session was occupied by formal 
recitation of the Tridentine Creed. 

In January 1870 the crisis became acute when 
Manning and other members of the Vatican Council 
presented the Pope with an Address, urging him to 
declare his own Infallibility. 

Upon this Dollinger wrote his " Few Words " to the 
Augsburg Gazette. He pointed out with all possible 
emphasis the magnitude of the suggested revolution. 
He declared that Papal Infallibility had never been 
believed hitherto believed, that is, with the faith due 
to a divine revelation. Between the faith due to a truth 


divinely revealed through the Church, and the accept 
ance of a theological theory, the difference is immense. 
Hitherto there had been conjectures, opinions, prob 
abilities, even human certainty in individual minds 
as to Papal Infallibility ; but never that divine faith 
which is the response of the Catholic to the doctrine 
of the Church. Dollinger added that while the 
Infallibilists Address spoke of the Pope being infallible 
when instructing the entire Church, it was historically 
clear that all papal utterances on doctrine during the 
first twelve hundred years were directed to individuals 
or local communities. 

The effect of this urgent appeal to historic certainties 
was very considerable. Archbishop Scherr, Dollinger s 
diocesan, had a very uneasy time in consequence at 
the hands of the Jesuits and the majority in Rome. 
Although his personal conviction and sympathy were 
with the learned historian, he could not help a certain 
human self-pity, and he is said to have sighed, " What 
a comfort it would be if only Dollinger would expire ! " 
But the vigorous old Professor seemed in no way likely 
to comply with the archiepiscopal wishes. 

A further stage in Vatican procedure was reached 
when Pius IX. imposed upon the Council, on 22nd 
February 1870, a new series of Regulations which 
were designed to accelerate progress, and to drive 
things forward to their intended conclusion. 

These New Regulations as to procedure were intro 
duced into the Council without its consultation or 
consent. They were simply imposed upon the 
Council, from without ; by the same authority which 
directed everything without personally appearing. 
The main features of the New Regulations are two. 
The first rule authorised the Presidents to control any 
individual speaker who in their opinion wandered from 


the point Another rule gave the Presidents power, at 
the request of ten Fathers and with the approval of the 
majority, to closure the discussion. This second Regula 
tion involved tremendous possibilities. It placed the 
minority entirely at the mercy of the majority. It thereby 
determined a principle more momentous still namely, 
that Decrees of Faith could be imposed on the Church 
by mere majority of votes. Hitherto the minority had 
taken refuge in the principle that no opinion could 
be elevated into a dogma of faith without the Council s 
moral unanimity. The existence of an opposition so 
extensive as between one hundred and two hundred 
Bishops rendered the Church secure on that theory 
from the imposition of the Ultramontane conception 
of papal prerogatives. But the New Regulations swept 
that plea of moral unanimity entirely away. Whatever 
was the intention of its propounders, its effect is clear ; 
and that effect was disastrous to the men who clung 
to what they regarded as the ancient truth. Naturally 
the depression of the minority was profound. 

Dollinger wrote a very powerful criticism upon these 
New Regulations. 1 He characterised the existing Roman 
Synod as the first in history in which instructions as to 
procedure had been imposed upon the Bishops without 
their co-operation or approval. The New Regulations 
concentrated all real power in the hands of the presiding 
Cardinals and the Commission of Suggestions, so that 
the Council itself, as opposed to these, had neither power 
nor will. Equally momentous was the fact that doctrine 
was to be determined by majorities. This was an 
intrusion of parliamentary forms into sy nodical procedure 
with this tremendous difference: that whereas laws 
passed by majorities are subject to subsequent revision 
and recall, dogmatic resolutions are, if the Council be 

1 Reusch, Declaration: and Decrees. 


really ecumenical, irrevocable and valid for all future 
time. The Infallibilist majority would naturally accept 
the dogmatic proposals introduced by the Commission 
of Suggestions ; for that Commission, which alone 
possessed the privilege of introducing doctrine into the 
Council, and of determining what amendments should 
be admitted, and the form which those amendments 
should take, consisted of the most pronounced advocates 
of Infallibility. And this decision by majorities was 
utterly alien to the traditional methods of Christendom. 
"For eighteen hundred years," said Dollinger, "it has 
been held as a principle of the Church that decrees 
concerning faith and doctrine should be adopted by 
at least moral unanimity." And this because Bishops 
at a Council are primarily witnesses to the faith which 
they and their Churches have received ; secondly, judges 
to examine whether the conditions of universality, per 
petuity, and consent are fulfilled by a given doctrine ; 
whether it is really a universal doctrine of the whole 
Church, and a constituent portion of the original Deposit 
divinely intrusted to the Church s keeping, and there 
fore a doctrine which every Christian must affirm. 
Consequently the judicial function of the episcopate 
cannot exclude the past. It extends across all history. 

" A Council only makes dogmatic decrees on things 
already universally believed in the Church, as being 
testified by the Scriptures and by Tradition, or which 
are contained, as evident and clear deductions, in the 
principles which have been already believed and taught. 
Should, for example, the Infallibility of a single 
individual be put in the place of the freedom from 
error of the whole Church, as formerly believed and 
taught, this would be no development nor explanation 
of what was hitherto implicitly believed, nor is it a 
deduction that follows with logical necessity, but simply 


the very opposite of the earlier doctrine, which thereby 
would be subverted." 

Dollinger contended further that all theologians agree 
that the ecumenical character of a Council depends, 
among other essential conditions, upon the possession 
of real freedom. Real freedom does not consist in mere 
immunity from physical force. Fear, ambition, avarice, 
as effectually destroy true freedom as bodily constraint. 
Moreover, urged Dollinger, even if a Council be 
ecumenical in its vocation, it does not follow that it 
is also ecumenical in its procedures or in its con 
clusions. " It is still necessary that the authority which 
stands ever above every Council the testimony of the 
whole Church should come forward and decide." 

This was Bellinger s final protest before the decision. 1 
A Bishop of the majority replied by prohibiting 
theological students in his diocese from attending 
Dollinger s lectures. Pius congratulated the Bishop on 
this action, and wished that others would follow his 
example ; which however they declined to do. A war 
of pamphlets followed. Dollinger was attacked in a 
party newspaper as having by his recent writings 
placed himself outside the Catholic Church. Hotzl, 2 a 
Franciscan lecturer on theology, afterwards Bishop of 
Augsberg, published a pamphlet entitled, " Is Dollinger 
a Heretic?" This was too much for the King of 
Bavaria. He expressed in a birthday letter the 
earnest hope that Dollinger might long be spared in 
undiminished mental and bodily powers to the service 
of religion and of learning. Hotzl s imprudent act 
awakened so many demonstrations of sympathy and 
approval towards Dollinger that it was thought wise to 
transfer Hotzl to Rome. 

1 Friedrich, iii. p. 541. 8 Ibid. p. 543. 


It was impossible, of course, that these New Regula 
tions, involving for the minority such tremendous 
possibilities, should be tamely acquiesced in without a 
protest. The protest came, partly in the form of written 
appeals to the Pope, and partly in speeches in the 
Congregation. One of the ablest orators in the Council, 
the brilliant Strossmayer, being called to order by the 
President, uttered against the Rules the following 
impassioned criticism : 

" I am persuaded that the perpetual and unmistakable 
rule of faith and tradition always was and always must 
remain that nothing could be passed without morally 
unanimous consent. A Council which ignored this rule, 
and attempted to define dogmas of faith and morals by 
a numerical majority, binding thereby the conscience of 
the Catholic world under penalties of eternal life and 
death, would, according to my most profound conviction, 
have transgressed its lawful bounds." l 

As Strossmayer uttered the closing words the Council 
Chamber was filled with the wildest tumult, says Lord 
Acton, and the Session was broken up. 2 

Written protests were sent to the Pope against the 
New Regulations by the minority, but no relief was 
given. What were they now to do ? They had com 
plained, on ground of conscience, that the freedom of the 
Council was impaired. This complaint affected the 
Council s validity. Could they reasonably continue 
their work within it? On the other hand, no actual 
Decree was threatened as yet. Was it wise to withdraw 
before the repulsive doctrine was introduced ? The 
instincts of caution prevailed over bolder and more 
resolute lines. The minority protested, but submitted. 8 

1 Lord Acton, Vatican Council, p. 92. 2 Ibid. p. 92. 

3 Friedrich, iv. p. 764. 



IF the actual subject of Infallibility had not yet entered 
the Council for discussion, it was anxiously or eagerly 
debated in every mind. As far back as the beginning 
of the year (28th January 1870), a petition 1 under the 
instigation of Archbishop Manning was sent to the 
Commission on Faith, entreating that the doctrine of 
Infallibility might be brought before the Council. This 
petition for a Decree on Papal Infallibility was based 
upon the following grounds. It was, they said, opportune 
and necessary, because, according to the universal and 
constant tradition of the Church, papal decrees of 
doctrine could not be reformed ; because some who 
gloried in the name of Catholic were presuming to 
teach that deferential submission to papal authority 
was sufficient ; that one might acquiesce in silence 
without inward mental consent, or might at any rate 
accord a merely provisional assent until the Church 
itself endorsed or modified the decree in question. 
This independence was, they considered, injurious and 
subversive of authority. Prevalent disputes made 
definition a positive necessity. If the Vatican Council, 
thus challenged, neglected to testify to Catholic Faith, 
the Catholic world would fall into uncertainty, and the 

1 Acta, p. 923. 



heretical world would rejoice. Various local synods, 
moreover, had already passed resolutions for Papal 

Petitions were also issued on the other side. Copies 
of a circular had reached them requesting the definition 
of Papal Infallibility. Accordingly they are constrained 
to address the Pope. This is not a time in which the 
rights of the Apostolic See are questioned by Catholics, 
and it is undesirable to add to the doctrines of the Council 
of Trent. The difficulties which the writings of the 
Fathers, and the genuine documents and facts of history 
suggest to many minds, on the subject of Infallibility, 
preclude the definition of this doctrine as a truth divinely 
revealed, until the difficulties have been removed. They 
implore the Pope not to impose such discussions upon 
them. 1 

This was in January. Nothing was immediately done. 
But on the 6th of March a notice was sent to the 
members individually, informing them that, in response 
to the appeal of many Bishops, the Pope had consented 
to the introduction of Papal Infallibility into the Council. 
They were accordingly requested to send in their written 
remarks within ten days. 

Accordingly written criticisms were sent in to the 
Commission on Faith. And it is to this fact that we 
owe a large portion of our knowledge of the actual 
argument employed by Infallibilists by the minority 
in the Council. For their criticisms were condensed 
and printed for distribution among the members, and 
copies of this have survived the Council. 2 This is all 
the more important since the proceedings of the Council 
were nominally secret, and no official report of the 
speeches was ever given to the world, and the actual 
minutes are buried in the Vatican archives. A Jesuit 
1 Acta> p. 944. 2 Friedrich, Documenta. 


German writer l on the Council has had access to these, 
and has given extracts and accounts of them ; but no 
complete account has ever yet appeared. Meanwhile 
great value must attach to the printed criticisms of 
the doctrine. These, as was natural, are chiefly the 
work of the opposition. Some one hundred and thirty- 
nine Bishops replied, of whom nearly one hundred were 
against the decree. Its advocates contented themselves 
with general expressions of approval. The opposition 
to the proposed definition was begun by the criticisms 
of Cardinal Rauscher. 

Rauscher said that the question was not whether the 
instructions of the Pope should be obeyed, but whether 
they must be received with the faith due to God. The 
salvation of souls and the honour of the Council demand 
that the greatest caution should be exercised before 
imposing this upon the faith of Christian people. He 
confessed himself, although prepared to defend what the 
Council might decree, unable to solve the difficulties 
which would arise. To those already persuaded convic 
tion would not be difficult. But Bishops in Austria and 
Germany would have a difficult time. " The subterfuges 
employed by not a few theologians in the case of 
Honorius would only expose the writers to derision." 
To propound such sophistries appears to him unworthy 
alike of the episcopal office and of the subject in 
question, which ought to be treated in the fear of 
God. Even prudence would prohibit the use of such 
artifices. 2 

Bishop Ketteler, Bishop of Maintz, urged that accord 
ing to the principle observed by the Fathers and 
sanctioned by Councils, dogmatic decrees should only 
be resorted to under imperative necessity. In many 
districts the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was almost 

1 Granderath. 8 Friedrich, Documtnta. 


or altogether unknown to the faithful. Were it decreed, 
many Catholics in this age of indifference would remain 
within the Church without believing it, to the grave 
detriment of Religion. 

Bishop Hefele said that if the error of Gallicanism 
consisted in separating the Church from the Pope, the 
present proposal committed the converse error of 
separating the Pope from the Church. We Catholics 
can accept neither of these extreme positions. More 
over we have been told that the subject of Infallibility 
is the Church ; we are now told that it is the Pope. 
But it is difficult to see how these two subjects can 
be united, unless the one renders the other superfluous, 
and indeed excludes it. The theory of Papal Infallibility 
seemed to him founded neither in Scripture nor in 
History. The letter of Leo to Flavian was not accepted 
by the fourth Ecumenical Council because it came 
from an infallible writer, but because it contained an 
apostolic doctrine ; nor was it accepted until the doubts 
of certain Bishops had been removed. 

Another Bishop declared that if such Infallibility 
were dogmatically defined, the result in his own diocese, 
where not a trace of Tradition upon the subject existed, 
would be grievous losses to the Church. Nor could he 
personally profess himself convinced of it. 

Melchers, Archbishop of Cologne, was prepared to 
accept Papal Infallibility as his personal belief, but 
was unable to assent to its erection into a dogma ; 
for he could see no necessity. The authority of the 
Holy See was never greater than in modern times. And 
it is neither customary nor expedient to impose new 
dogmatic decrees without necessity. The subject of 
Papal Infallibility in particular is a controverted subject. 
Many learned and orthodox persons considered its 
dogmatic definition impossible, owing to the serious 



difficulties presented by history and the writings of 
the Fathers : the facts showing that there had never 
been unanimity or universality of consent on this matter 
in Christendom. Nor was it easy to see how a definition 
could be composed which would not leave space for 
numerous uncertainties and controversies as to its 
meaning and application to past and future events. 
And, among men disposed to accept the opinion, 
there were many destitute of that certainty of 
conviction which is an indispensable pre-requisite for 
imposing the doctrine, without grave moral injury, 
upon others as essential to be believed under penalty 
of eternal damnation. There was no hope of real 
unanimous consent ; for it was impossible to deny that 
a large proportion of the Bishops was adverse to the 
definition. And hitherto in the Church of God it had 
never been the custom, nor is it lawful, to establish 
new dogmatic definitions without moral unanimity 
among the Bishops assembled in Council. 

Another Bishop insisted emphatically that no con 
sideration ought to move men to create an article 
of faith, except only a clear knowledge that God has 
revealed it, and that it is certainly contained in Scripture 
or Tradition. For a Bishop to vote this doctrine merely 
out of regard for the Holy See would be a mortal sin. 
There was no constant Tradition for Infallibility. On 
the contrary, the opposite opinion appears in numberless 
records. St Augustine is particularly clear, and seems 
to have had no conception whatever of the doctrine. 
Bossuet s Exposition could not possibly have been 
approved when the doctrine prevailed, for he only 
mentions the primacy. 

Another, who protests his abhorrence of all endeavours 
to detract from the primacy of the Pope, was yet con 
strained to plead that nothing should be said in this 


Council either concerning the pre-eminence of the Roman 
Pontiff over the entire Church and General Council, 
or concerning his Infallibility. 

Another Bishop protested that this ascription to the 
Pope of absolute or unconditional Infallibility, separate, 
i.e. independent of the consent of the Episcopate 
personal, that is to say, uttered at will is neither 
opportune nor lawful : not opportune, for it will involve 
souls and religion in innumerable difficulties ; not law 
ful, because founded on no certain argument either of 
Scripture, or Tradition, or Councils ; and because it 
would revolutionise the constitution which Christ has 
imposed upon His Church. 

Next came a witness from the Irish Catholics. This 
Bishop said that although during the last thirty-one years 
before the Council assembled the doctrine of the Infalli 
bility of the Roman Pontiff had been taught in the Irish 
schools, and he himself during fifteen years had inculcated 
it upon the young ecclesiastics entrusted to his care ; yet 
for two hundred years it had always been taught in the 
schools that the decrees of the Roman Pontiff were not 
irreformable, except with the consent, either expressed 
or tacit, of the Episcopate. Therefore this doctrine of 
personal Infallibility of Roman Pontiffs could not reach 
the people and sink into the minds of the faithful laity. 
Moreover, a denial of personal Infallibility had been 
publicly made when the Irish Bishops were interrogated 
by the English Government. Nor was any censure to 
this day ever uttered against the doctrine which pre 
vailed in Ireland. The Irish Catechisms had always 
taught the Infallibility of the Church, meaning the 
Bishops or teaching body in agreement with the Pope. 

Sixteen other Bishops joyfully accept the doctrine, 
and declare it supported by the entire Dominican Order, 
Twenty-five others did the same. 


Another Bishop declared that the series of three 
texts commonly quoted on behalf of Papal Infallibility 
("Thou art Peter." . . . "I have prayed for thee" . . . "Feed 
My sheep ") could not possibly prove that the authority 
to teach and the privilege of Infallibility were given 
exclusively to St Peter, for another series of texts exists 
in which the Apostles collectively with St Peter are made 
recipients of the same authority (" Go ye therefore . . . 
teaching them ... I will pray the Father, and He will 
send you another Comforter . . . Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost"). Who will dare to say that the Apostles 
and their successors received nothing in these words? 
Who does not see that all power was directly 
bestowed upon them all ? Now, since the Bishops are 
successors of the Apostles, and receive direct from 
Christ a definite share in the government of the Church, 
it is impossible to allow that the entire and absolute 
authority and power to rule and teach, coupled with 
the privilege of Infallibility, belong to the Pope alone. 
Such power must reside in the Pope together with the 
Episcopate, as the successor of Peter and the Apostles. 
If the Pope possesses a principal portion of authority, 
yet it is essentially limited by the rights of the Episcopate, 
which are equally Divine. Thus it cannot be absolute. 
We hold it for certain, this Bishop continued, that by 
no argument from the first five centuries of the Church 
can the Infallibility of the Pope be established. The 
early centuries never recognised absolute infallible 
teaching power in the Pope alone ; but in the entire 
Episcopate, of which he was the head. If nothing is 
definable which does not conform to the test of univer 
sality from the beginning, how can Infallibility of the 
Pope ever become defined ? 

Another Bishop asserted that nothing more mischievous 
than this unfortunate proposition could be conceived ; 


nothing more dangerous to the authority of the Church 
and the Holy See. It was not right to separate either 
the head from the body nor the body from the head 
in the discussion of this doctrine. Infallibility was a 
prerogative of the entire body of the Church. The 
difficulties which the doctrine of Papal Infallibility 
create were endless and almost insoluble. The conse 
quences of a definition would be bad and dangerous. 
It was therefore to be hoped that the Pope will, of his 
own accord, set this cause of discord aside. Many of 
the Fathers of the Vatican Council were persuaded that 
such an example of humility and self-denial on the part 
of the Pope would really increase the authority of the 
Apostolic See, and render the name of Pius IX. glorious 
in the annals of the Church. 

Another member of the Council Bishop Clifford, one 
of the three candidates proposed by the Chapter for the 
Archbishopric of Westminster, and who therefore, if the 
will of the Roman Catholics in England had not been 
overruled by Pius IX., might have been in Manning s 
place declared that the definition of this opinion as 
of faith would be the greatest hindrance to the con 
version of Protestants and a stone of stumbling to 
many Catholics. What good it could produce he was 
unable to see. It would be especially disastrous in 
England ; for at the time of the Catholic emancipation 
from civil disabilities the Bishops and theologians were 
publicly questioned by Parliament whether English 
Catholics believed that the Pope could impose definitions 
on faith and morals apart from the consent, either tacit 
or express, of the Church. All the Bishops, among them 
the predecessor of the present Archbishop of Dublin, 
together with the theologians, replied that Catholics did 
not maintain this doctrine. This statement was entered 
in the Parliamentary Acts. On the strength of these 


assertions, Parliament admitted the English Catholics 
to civil liberty. How will Protestants believe that 
Catholics are loyal to their honour and good faith if 
they see them acquiring political advantage by pro 
fessing that Papal Infallibility is no part of the Catholic 
religion, and afterwards, when those advantages are 
secured, departing from their public profession and 
asserting the contrary? 

Bishop Purcell, an American Bishop, was of opinion 
that a definition of Papal Infallibility would be not only 
inopportune but also dangerous. It would, if passed, 
effectually frustrate conversions in the United States. 
Bishops in controversy with Protestants will be unable 
to refute them : for Protestants will say, " Hitherto 
this doctrine was, so you asserted, an optional opinion 
in the Church ; now you declare it to be a dogma of 
the faith. Either therefore your former assertion was 
untrue, or the doctrine of the Church has suffered 
variation. In which case, what becomes of your 
objection to Protestant variations ? " 

Another Bishop, on the contrary, maintained that the 
definition was not only opportune, but also necessary, in 
order to deepen reverence for highest authority, and 
to suppress the systematic rebellion which is very 
widely spread. He desires that a Canon should be 
formulated to anathematise all who hold the opposite 

Another Bishop declared that he could see no 
necessity for any definition. If there were, eighteen 
centuries would not have elapsed without one or other 
of the Councils defining it. Nor could he see the least 
utility. They who will not hear the Church certainly 
will not hear the Pope. In the present discussion now 
raging evil influences daily increase. There were many 


facts of history better buried in oblivion, which this 
discussion proclaims abroad. So much for the oppor 
tuneness of the dogma. What if the doctrine itself be 
without secure foundation ? Quite recently the Bishop 
had vowed never to interpret Holy Scripture except in 
accordance with the unanimous consent of the Fathers. 
Now, previously to the Council, he had always interpreted 
the text " I have prayed for thee " in the sense of Papal 
Infallibility. But having begun to examine for himself, 
for the purposes of the Council, he finds that nearly all 
the extracts from the earlier Fathers given in theological 
manuals in behalf of Infallibility (as in the works of 
St Alphonso, Perrone, and others) are either inaccurate, 
or derived from forgeries. What the extracts from the 
early Fathers prove is primacy. They do not prove 

Conciliar definitions, says another Bishop, ought not 
to be imposed by superior numerical force, but by 
intellectual persuasion. In the Council of Trent so 
great was the deference accorded to the minority that 
a decision was postponed for several years because 
thirty-seven of the Fathers declined to concur with the 
opinion of the majority. 

Another Bishop affirmed that in his view a definition 
of Infallibility would be the suicide of the Church. 
Quite recently, certain Anglicans, who six months ago 
came over to Catholic unity, returned at once to 
Anglicanism, on reading the Archbishop of West 
minster s imprudent Pastoral. 

Bishop Kenrick made a very lengthy and elaborate 
protest. He appealed to Augustine s defence of 
Cyprian s opposition to Pope Stephen. Augustine 
manifestly was ignorant of pontifical Infallibility, other 
wise he could not possibly have argued as he did. 
The oft-quoted phrase, "Peter has spoken by Leo," 


signified nothing more when originally uttered by the 
Bishops at Chalcedon than that Leo s doctrine agreed 
with their own convictions. In the Sixth Council at 
Constantinople, the Archbishop of Constantinople, in 
reference to the Letters of Pope Agatho, asked for 
copies to compare with the traditional testimonies 
of that Patriarchate ; after which he would give his 
reply. Accordingly the Archbishop compared the papal 
letters ; and, finding that their contents harmonised 
with the Eastern teaching, accepted them. Moreover, 
supreme papal authority does not include Infallibility. 
Kenrick considered great differences to exist between 
the dogma of Immaculate Conception and that of ponti 
fical Infallibility. The latter invades the rights of the 
Episcopate, and imposes upon the faithful the necessity 
of believing that Roman Bishops have never erred in 
matters of faith, a statement which indisputable facts 
of history appear to refute ; and also of believing that 
Roman Bishops will never err in future, which indeed 
we hope, but are unable to believe as a certainty of the 
faith. The rule to be followed is, that no innovation 
should be accepted in the Church ; that nothing should 
be required of the faithful, except that which has been 
believed always everywhere and by all. 

When the ten days interval was passed, and the 
Council resumed its work, there was manifested on 
the part of the authorities a decided hesitation. This 
was due not to the protests of the minority, or to any 
force in their numbers or their arguments. It was the 
outcome of political rather than ecclesiastical causes. 
For Italy aspired to become a consolidated kingdom, 
with its capital at Rome. The entire mediaeval inherit 
ance of the Papacy, the States of the Church, could not 
be held by any force at the Pope s disposal ; and might, 
but for external protection, be at any moment swept 


away. That protection was provided by France. 
French soldiers guarded the city, kept the Italians out, 
and rendered the continuance of the Council possible. 
The armed intervention of France was described by 
the Archbishop of Paris l as a necessary expedient but 
not a permanent solution. It provided a temporary 
security, during which the Vatican Council was held. 
It is impossible not to admire the sagacity which seized 
the occasion. A little later, and it could not have been 
done. But security depended on French goodwill. 

" If any one dreams," said Antonelli, " that there 
exists for us any human help, except the forces of 
France, he must be blind." 2 

But France at this critical moment showed signs of 
uneasiness. It felt that its protection was being utilised 
for the promotion of theories which it strongly disliked. 3 
Count Daru, head of the French Ministry, sent an 
emphatic protest to Rome, in which he declared that 
the adoption of Ultramontane theories could not but 
alienate from Catholicism many whom it would be a 
duty to win. The Holy See was making the relation 
between the Church and the State more difficult and 
strained. In particular, the work of the French Ministry 
was thereby made exceedingly difficult. They would 
soon have to discuss in the Chamber the presence of 
French troops in papal territory. How can their 
presence be justified if the Pope rejects the principles 
of liberty which are essential to the very existence of 
modern Governments ? The writer confesses that he was 
personally placed in a position most discouraging to a 
devoted adherent of the Roman cause. Public opinion 
in France was already amazed to find the Council 

1 Guillermin, Darboy, p. 206. 

2 Bourgeois et Clermont, Rome et Napoleon, iii. p. 322 (1907). 
8 Ollivier, ii. p. 89. 


imprisoned within the limits of a programme which 
invaded the freedom of the Bishops. Nothing could 
be more opposed to the ancient rules of the Church. 
Never had the Holy See hitherto restricted, or rather 
suppressed, the lawful independence which Councils 
have always possessed in forming their own Congrega 
tions and choosing their own officials and regulating 
their own procedure. The history of these great 
Assemblies offers no precedent for the forms imposed 
to-day ; and we have only too much reason to say 
that deliberations so arranged and conducted will only 
result in resolutions not to the real interest of the 
Church. 1 

We can well understand that the receipt of such a 
letter, from such a source, caused great uneasiness in 
the Papal Court. No wonder if, at the critical moment, 
when everything seemed in their grasp, they yet 
hesitated and delayed. The question to be determined 
at Rome was, What did this manifesto mean? Was 
this present attitude serious? a prelude to actions 
more serious still? 2 No wonder if Pius temporised, 
and diverted the attention of his Council for the 
moment to other themes. So the subject of faith was 
reintroduced. However, on nth April, a telegram was 
received in Rome : " Daru resigned. Ollivier succeeds 
him. Council free." That is to say, of course, free from 
a papal point of view. 

The fact was, that although Napoleon III. had no 
desire to promote the extension of papal power, yet 
in the weakness of the monarchy and increasingly 
republican tendencies of France, he could not afford 
to offend the Ultramontanes. He was therefore com 
pelled by a cruel irony to protect the Pope, and enable 
him to reach the summit of absolute power. With- 

1 Ollivier, ii. p. 90. 2 Ibid. ii. p. 245. 


drawal from Rome while its Episcopate was assembled 
would be a declaration of hostility to Catholicism upon 
which France dared not venture. 1 Accordingly, the 
political obstruction being now removed, the Presiding 
Legate informed the Council that many Bishops had 
petitioned the Pope to forego the consideration of all 
other subjects, and to proceed at once to the discussion 
of Papal Infallibility ; and to these petitions the Pope 
had assented. 

To realise the situation fully it is now necessary to 
fix attention on a select and powerful body at work 
behind the Council the famous Commission of Sug 
gestions. This was a select Committee of twenty- 
five, including Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops, all 
appointed by the Pope ; their momentous function 
being to receive and criticise all suggestions of subjects 
upon which the Council might deliberate. Nothing 
could enter the Council at all until endorsed by this 

It was pointed out by Infallibilists that the members 
of the Commission of Suggestions represented all 
portions of the Catholic world : to which the minority 
replied that whatever the geographical distribution, all 
opinions were excluded except one. This was not 
exactly accurate. But within the chosen twenty-five 
were such advanced Ultramontanes as Cullen, Arch 
bishop of Dublin ; Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore ; 
Manning, Archbishop of Westminster ; Dechamp, Arch 
bishop of Mechlin ; Conrad Martin, Bishop of Paderborn ; 
Valerga of Jerusalem ; Cardinals de Angelis and 
Bonnechose ; to say nothing of Antonelli. 

An important member of the Commission of Sugges 
tions was Guibert, Archbishop of Tours. When con 
sulted by Pius IX. on the desirability of a Council, he had 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 391. 


confined himself in his reply to practical affairs. There 
is a studious and, says his biographer, 1 deliberate silence 
on the theme of Pontifical Infallibility. The theory 
was his personal belief. He thought that, were it other 
wise, the Church would be inadequately furnished for 
arresting heresies, since General Councils are intermittent 
and occasional. " But whether it is opportune to make 
a dogma of this truth that," he wrote in 1870, "is by 
no means clear to me." At the same time he added 
that he would not have the least repugnance to sub 
scribe to such a decree. Accordingly Guibert, who was 
thoroughly understood in Rome and highly valued, was 
nominated member of the Commission of Suggestions. 

Guibert himself gave the following interesting 
account 2 of their deliberations at the critical hour 
when the subject of Infallibility was brought before 
them. The Congregation met in a chamber of the 
Vatican under the papal apartments. Cardinal Patrizzi 
presided. Guibert, as one of the senior Archbishops, 
was placed next to the Cardinals. 

" The time had come for the famous question of Infalli 
bility to be submitted to the Congregation for proposals. 
Its decision was anxiously expected. The Pope him 
self had given orders that he should be informed of our 
decision immediately afterwards. 

" Cardinal Patrizzi, after opening the subject, pro 
ceeded to interrogate, according to custom, the prelates 
of the least distinguished rank. They had mostly pre 
pared their reply, and before voting delivered a thesis 
on the authority of Holy Scripture, the Fathers, etc. 
These discourses were pronounced or read in Latin. 
When my turn came, not being accustomed to write 
much, I had no prepared discourse, and being unused 
to talk in Latin, should have had great difficulty in 
giving exact expression to my thoughts in that 

1 Follenay, Vie de Cardinal Guibert, ii. p. 421. 2 Ibid. p. 423. 


language. I could, indeed, have given my vote in 
Latin, but I desired to preface it with some statements 
by way of explanation. I therefore begged the pre 
siding Cardinal to allow me to speak in French, which 
was a language familiar to all the Congregation, and 
which would greatly facilitate my explanations. The 
Cardinal willingly consented, and, I may add that 
many of my colleagues, being in the same predicament, 
afterwards followed my example. They seemed to 
attach some importance to what I was about to say. 
I was far from desiring to oppose the definition for 
which people yearned. I was by no means in with the 
opposition, but I had never manifested enthusiasm for 
it as many others did. 

" I began with the profession of faith in the Pope s 
Infallibility. I affirmed that this belief had been mine 
throughout my life. I had been taught it in childhood, 
and as a student I was admitted into a society where 
this belief was held without reserve. I had taught it 
myself as Superior of the Seminary of Ajaccio. In 
short, I never had the least doubt about the doctrine, 
and I was inclined to defend it in every way. But 
the question before them now was whether it was 
opportune for the Council to discuss its dogmatic 
definition. If this question had been raised some years 
before I should have asked that no discussion should be 
held. ... I hold that it would not have been opportune 
to discuss the subject some years ago. It would have 
been even dangerous, for it would have needlessly 
disturbed the minds of men, and have exposed to 
challenge an authority which more than any other 
should remain above discussion. But things are different 
to-day. The subject has taken possession of the public 
Press, and violent passions have been roused by its discus 
sion. Deplorable divisions have been encouraged. The 
faithful are everywhere disturbed. Even Governments 
are uneasy ; and, with various motives, concern them 
selves with this important matter. Things have come to 
such a pass that it is essential to bring the discussion 
to an end. We are no longer free to keep silence. Peace 


will only be restored by a definition of that which 
Catholics have believed to the present day. We must 
therefore treat the subject ; and, I would add, must 
decide in the affirmative. For otherwise, in the face of 
existing circumstances, if this subject be not discussed, 
serious harm will be done to the faithful. Governments 
will not have the respect they should for the Holy See, 
and the authority of the Pope will be depreciated. 

" While I was delivering my speech," adds Guibert, 
in a most significant conclusion to this account, " I was 
watching Cardinal Antonelli, who was seated opposite. 
And I saw him give indications of approval each time 
I emphasised my opinions. My discourse produced a 
considerable effect upon my colleagues. It seemed to 
be new light, assisting and strengthening those who were 
irresolute on the proper course to pursue. Prelates 
who spoke after me did me the honour to base them 
selves upon the reasons I had propounded, and the 
conclusion of our meeting was that the subject should 
be laid before the Council. 

"As soon as our deliberations were ended, the 
Cardinals went to the Pope and reported to him all 
the incidents. They said that, thanks to the Archbishop 
of Tours, a favourable vote had been obtained. The 
Holy Father expressed his keen satisfaction." 1 

Such was Guibert s important share in promoting the 
great result. If his health gave way in Rome and 
compelled him to leave before the issue was determined, 
he could well be spared, for he had done his work. It 
was appropriate that so influential a mover in the Con 
gregation of Proposals should afterwards be selected for 
the Archbishopric of Paris, and the rank of Cardinal. 

But to whom should the task be intrusted of 
introducing the great subject into the Council itself? 
There was a personage singularly fitted for this difficult 
work. One of the most active spirits in Rome was 

1 Follenay, Vie de Cardinal Guibert, ii p. 426. 


Mgr. Pie, Bishop of Poitiers. His antecedents were, 
from a curialist standpoint, irreproachable. He was, 
says his Ultramontane biographer, "very Roman." 
Already he had laboured to propagate the distinctive 
Roman doctrines in five provincial Councils in France ; 
had taught the Infallibilist opinion twenty years; had 
suggested suitable theologians of the proper school for 
preliminary service in Rome. The Bishop of Poitiers 
had impressed upon his clergy his theory of the relation 
of Mary to the Councils of the Church. The Council 
of Jerusalem, he informed them, was "honoured with 
her presence," and she had never been absent from the 
Council Chambers since. He suggested as a fruitful 
subject for spiritual reflection, " Mary and the Councils." 
The Vatican Assembly deserved better than any to 
be associated with her name, for was it not opened on 
the Festival of her Immaculate Conception ? Mgr. Pie 
had known perfectly well at least a year that Pontifical 
Infallibility was bound to come up for discussion in the 
Vatican deliberations. While still residing in his own 
episcopal city, his Roman correspondents had informed 
him that the preliminary Commission in Rome was 
entirely agreed on the definability and opportuneness 
of the doctrine. And he himself had publicly repudiated 
the notion that Papal Infallibility depended for its 
completeness upon at least the tacit consent of the 
Episcopate. That the Bishop s own silence and that 
of his colleagues conferred upon Peter s doctrinal utter 
ances a value not obtainable from Christ s promise, 
and from the help of the Spirit, was to Mgr. Pie unthink 
able. And he administered a public rebuke to Bishop 
Maret, the learned advocate of the opposite view, through 
the medium of a sermon on the text, " the servant of God 
must be teachable." l The superb confidence of Mgr. Pie 

1 Acta % p. 1263. 


greatly impressed the statesman Ollivier, 1 who said that 
there was nothing like it on the other side. 

Mgr. Maret replied to the sermon, and the preacher 
issued a rejoinder. 2 But the strength of the Bishop 
of Poitiers did not lie in argument. He had no learning 
to measure with that of Maret. He was given to 
rhetorical and fervid declamation ; whereas Maret was 
measured, historical, deliberate. Bishop Pie accord 
ingly escaped from further discussion in a letter to 
his clergy, in which he registered a resolution not to 
allude again to the recent work of a prelate whose 
character he admired, but whose errors he lamented. 
Refutation was, he maintained, superfluous, since Maret 
only repeated his mistakes ; and in fact answers to 
the work were appearing daily. At the same time 
Bishop Pie cannot resist asserting that the work of 
Bishop Maret deserves all theological censures short 
of formal heresy. To which he adds a prediction, 
fully justified by events, that Maret would abandon 
his errors and submit himself to the judgment of the 

Already in Rome this " advocate of Roman doctrines 
in their extremest form " 3 had acted consistently with 
these antecedents. He had been long since cordially 
received by the Pope, and warmly commended for his 
diocesan utterances. The special honour had been 
his of selection to the important Commission on Faith 
by almost the highest number of votes. Already he 
had preached in Rome, and told his hearers that they 
had sown much and reaped little, since two or three 
false lights had misguided men and disturbed the vision 
even of the wise. Nevertheless he bade them be of good 
courage. For two or three new definitions of principle 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 411. 
2 Acta, p. 1277. 3 Ollivier, i. p. 415. 


would make their children more powerful for good than 
they themselves had ever been. 

It is true that the diocese of Poitiers was by no 
means free from tendencies of the opposite school. 
The Bishop received from Catholics of his own flock 
letters filled with objections against these Roman 
doctrines with which for twenty years he had inde- 
fatigably laboured to feed them. Accordingly, for a 
while, he steered a diplomatic course between the 
opposing extremes. When the majority presented a 
petition, asking the Pope to introduce forthwith the 
question of Pontifical Infallibility into the Council s 
discussions, Mgr. Pie was not to be found among the 
petitioners. There were reasons for this precaution. 
The immediate introduction of the theme would violate 
the logical development of thought. For certainly the 
Church itself should be considered before the subject 
of the Pope. While, therefore, the Bishop of Poitiers 
was widely remote from sympathy with those who 
desired the doctrine s indefinite postponement and 
ultimate suppression, he fully sympathised with the 
desire to set the doctrine in its logical place. He 
thought it would be stronger there than it possibly 
could be if torn out of its context, and arbitrarily and 
disconnectedly introduced. Hence he did not explicitly 
associate himself at first with this urgency movement 
of the majority. He shared their belief but not their 

However, tactful and sagacious as ever, and keenly 
alive to the direction in which the stream of popularity 
flowed with increasing volume, Mgr. Pie was much too 
prudent to oppose a lengthy reluctance to the wishes 
of his intimate partisans. His conversion to the view, 
that so urgent a matter required immediate treatment, 
was shortly announced. He adopted the vulgar reproach 



against the minority : " what they labelled inopportune 
they have rendered inevitable." He identified himself 
with the irritating assertion that the responsibility for 
the definition was due to its opponents. Of that, he 
said, he had not the slightest doubt. He was now to 
influence the Council itself. To whom could the task of 
introducing the pontifical claims into the Council be 
better intrusted than to him ? An Infallibilist who had 
not signed the petition for Infallibility would be more 
calculated to disarm opposition. The Bishop s friends 
in France were enchanted. An episcopal colleague just 
returning from Lourdes wrote to him enthusiastically 
in terms redolent of the ardent piety of that place : 
" The Pope has said to Mary, You are immaculate. 
And now Mary answers the Pope, And you are 

The Bishop of Poitiers set about his speech. He 
walked with Pius IX. himself in the gardens of the 
Vatican. He spent much time in serious discussion 
with the Jesuit theologians Schrader and Franzelin. 
Such were the influences at work upon his imagination. 
It was a delicate task, as his Ultramontane biographer 
justly observes, to introduce such a subject before an 
Assembly so divided. To do it to the satisfaction of 
the opposing extremes was of course impossible. The 
speech of an hour and five minutes, in which this great 
theory was launched upon the Council, received the 
sharpest criticism of learned Germany, and the warmest 
congratulations of the majority and the presiding 
Cardinals. On the following day the Pope himself 
alighted from his carnage to meet the orator, and 
expressed the liveliest satisfaction. " Bene scripsisti de 
me" said Pius IX. an allusion, observes the biographer, 
to the words which our Lord was reported to have 
spoken to St Thomas Aquinas, in commendation of 


his theological labours. In course of time the orator 
was raised to the Cardinalate. 

Nothing can better reveal the effect of this announce 
ment on the minority than the terms in which the 
Archbishop of Paris denounced it in a letter to 
Cardinal Antonelli, 1 the Papal Secretary of State. 

" This discussion of Papal Infallibility before all the 
other questions which must necessarily precede it, this 
reversal of the proper and regular procedure of the 
Council, this impulsive haste in a subject of the utmost 
delicacy, which by its very nature required deliberation 
and calm all this," said the Archbishop, " was not only 
illogical, absurd, incredible, but it plainly betrayed 
before the world a resolve to coerce the Council, and 
was, to describe it correctly, utterly inconsistent with 
the freedom of the Bishops. To persist in this design 
would be nothing less than a scandal before the whole 
world. Those who advocate such excesses are plainly 
blind to considerations of prudence. There is such a 
thing as a justice and public good faith which cannot be 
wounded with impunity. 

" I say from the depth of inner conviction," exclaimed 
the Archbishop, 2 that if decrees are passed by such 
methods as these, occasion will be given for the gravest 
suspicions as to the validity and freedom of the Vatican 

r* *i 


" That decrees can be passed this way is indisputable," 
he added. " You can do anything by force of numbers 
against reason and against right. But there is the 
sequel to be considered. It is then that troubles will 
arise for yourselves and for the Church." 

Now the writer of this fervid denunciation was con 
spicuous for acuteness, tact, reserve, discretion, self- 
control. What it meant for such a nature to speak 
this way may be imagined. Nothing can better show 

1 Quirinus, p. 854. 3 Ibid. p. 856. 


the intense strain on the feelings of the minority 
than the fire and passion in this utterance of one 
of the coldest of their number. 

The Archbishop s warning produced no practical 

A French pamphlet, 1 entitled " The Freedom of the 
Council and Infallibility," said to be the work of the 
Archbishop of Paris, gives an extremely powerful 
description of the situation in Rome, from the minority 
standpoint, on the 1st of June. Only fifty copies were 
printed, and it was intended exclusively for circulation 
among the Cardinals. 

"Wide-spread complaints exist," says the writer, 
" that the Council is not free. This is momentous, for 
it affects its ecumenicity. Some indeed assure us that 
all is well since the Pope is free. This is not the 
Catholic conviction, and will only satisfy one side. 
It is useless to bid us observe a respectful silence. 
The integrity of history must be secured against party 
spirit. Moreover we have now reached the second 
period of the Council s activities. 

" From the very beginning Papal Infallibility has been 
the main affair. To-day it has become the only interest. 
The time for concealment is past. The Council has 
/ only been assembled for this end. And now the Pope 
has postponed all other considerations and proceeds 
to throw this doctrine suddenly and irregularly into 
their midst. This is an amazing act of sovereign 
authority, a sort of coup detat. Nevertheless, it has 
been throughout the aim, although the secret aim, of 
the Assembly at the Vatican. The majority declares 
the doctrine to be urgently necessary. But why this 
urgency ? A question which without peril to the Church 
has waited eighteen hundred years might possibly still 
afford to wait, at least for months. Precipitation, 

1 Friedrich, Documenta. 


urgency, are unbecoming in a problem demanding above 
all things the calm gravity, deliberateness, freedom, 
which alone befit representatives of an eternal Church. 
The probability of an interruption of the Council before 
anything is decreed is a miserable subterfuge. Is it really 
believed that the majority is accidental and could not 
be counted upon again ? 

" What appears to us most serious in this coup d etat 
is not so much the disordering of the Council s regular 
work, as the proof thereby displayed of an arbitrary 
and absolute will, determined to override everything 
in order to secure an end long since designed although 
long concealed. 

" Certainly those who urge the Holy Father to such 
extremes take upon themselves a most tremendous 
responsibility. Considering the circumstances (especially 
the doubts already raised as to the Council s freedom), 
under which they have demanded and secured an 
exercise of supreme authority, placing so many vener 
able Bishops in the dilemma of a struggle with the 
Pope or with their own consciences, we cannot refrain 
from the enquiry, What future do they expect will 
await this assembly of the Vatican ? 

" The Council has now resumed its labours under new 
Regulations. Undoubtedly these will facilitate rapidity. 
But the aim of a Council is not rapidity, but truth. If 
the speed is increased, it is at the price of the freedom 
of the Bishops ; at the price of real deliberation ; of the 
dignity and security of the Church. The new Regula 
tions on Procedure had provoked a protest from one 
hundred Bishops of the minority : they feel them 
selves burdened by intolerable restrictions. They find 
themselves completely under the control of the 
Presidents, of the Commissions, of the majority. And 
behind all these there is the perpetual intervention of 
the Pope himself. The Presidents control absolutely 
the order of the day, the length of the Sessions, the 
regularity of meetings, the intervals for the study of 
documents. The Council, under such dominion, has 
no life of its own, and no power of initiative. It has 


no liberty. Is there," asks the writer, " any deliberative 
assembly in Europe or America similarly restricted? 
And yet the necessity of freedom is more imperative 
here than in any assembly in the world, considering 
the eternal interests here involved. 

"The minority feel themselves still more crippled 
by the power of numbers. There exists a majority 
and a minority ; unequal in numerical strength, but 
far more equal considering the Churches which they 
represent. The composition of this majority raises 
serious thoughts. The Council includes, besides diocesan 
Bishops, whose right alone is indisputable, Bishops with 
> ; no diocese ; Vicars Apostolic, dependent on Rome and 
removable at will ; Cardinals who are not Bishops and 
some not even priests ; superiors of religious Orders." 
According to the author, the proportion whose right of 
membership was uncertain amounted to 195. " Moreover 
the preponderance of Italian influence is shown in the 
fact that it is represented by 276 Bishops, while all the 
rest of Europe has only 265. A considerable proportion 
of Bishops are being maintained by the Pope, which 
increases the difficulties of real independence. 

" If it be said that decision by majorities is the method 
of all deliberative assemblies, the answer is, that this is 
not true of a Universal Council of the Church ; least of 
all can it be permissible with an Assembly so con 
stituted as that of the Vatican. Creation of dogmas 
by such a method is impossible. It has never been 
done in the Church. And, accordingly, the protest of 
a hundred Bishops declares that moral unanimity alone 
can determine dogmatic questions. So serious they 
declare is this matter that unless their protest against 
the New Regulations be attended to, and that without 
delay, their consciences will be burdened with intoler 
able difficulties. A hundred Bishops say this. And 
they have secured no reply whatever. The perplexities 
resulting from this treatment may be well imagined. 
Certainly the function of an Episcopal minority in a 
Council is no sinecure. Some desired at once to with 
draw altogether. Others, and these the more numerous, 


were reluctant to take this final step. Which of the 
two was the wiser course the future will show." 

The author complains still further of pressure exerted 
from without ; of ordinary priests encouraged by Roman 
influences to make declarations in favour of Infallibility 
against their Bishops a sort of novel Presbyterianism 
in which the Bishop s testimony to the faith is super 
seded by a section of his clergy. More serious still is 
the personal intervention of the Pope. A powerful 
moral pressure is brought to bear upon the Bishops 
by Pius IX. Bellarmine wrote a courageous letter to 
Clement VIII., counselling him not to influence the 
assembled theologians with the weight of his personal 
opinions, nor to bestow his favours and coveted dis 
tinctions exclusively upon those who thought as he 
did, but to leave all men in these serious discussions to 
the unimpeded expression of his own belief. Certainly 
Pius IX. had met with other advisers, and Bellarmine 
has no equivalent in the Vatican of to-day. Semi 
official papers ascribed to the Pope a sentiment of 
dignified reserve on the question of his Infallibility. 
But, as a fact, every movement in that direction 
has received papal blessings and encouragement. An 
astonishing number of briefs has been issued from the 
secretariat of latin letters. Each tract in favour of 
Infallibility is commended. Thus the subject before 
the Council is prejudged, and the minority bishops 
themselves indirectly attacked. 

The author s conclusion is that the character of the 
Council is seriously compromised, and its freedom more 
than questionable. 

The general discussion x of Infallibility began on the 
1 3th of May, and continued to the 3rd of June. No 

1 Acta ; Ollivier, ii. p. 279. 


less than sixty-four Bishops desired to speak upon it. 
Their names are known, but their speeches, with few 
exceptions, are only known in fragments. They all 
exist of course in the shorthand reports stored in the 
Vatican archives, but they have not yet appeared. 
This remains for a future historian. Meanwhile, we 
know fairly well what Manning said, and we have in 
full the speech of the Archbishop of Paris. 

The Archbishop of Paris discussed three points : 
the introduction, the contents, and the results of this 
proposed decree. Two facts might show whether its 
introduction into the Council was in accordance with 
the principles and dignity of such an Assembly. 

One fact was, that while Papal Infallibility was 
obviously the real object for which the Vatican Council 
was assembled (as indeed the creation of a new dogma is 
the most momentous act a Council can perform), never 
theless this momentous subject was never mentioned 
in the official documents. And this omission was 
natural. For the Catholic world had no desire for a 
settlement of the question ; nor was there any real 
ground for meddling with what had hitherto always 
been a subject of free enquiry among theologians. 

The second fact was the introduction of the subject 
into the Council completely out of its logical and 
natural order. It was not logical to begin the doctrine 
on the Church with a definition on the Papacy ; for the 
Infallibility of the Church must clearly be considered 
prior to that of the Pope. 

So far as to its introduction. As to its subject 
matter: the substance of the formula before the 
Council contained ambiguous expressions, and was full 
of difficulty. Under what conditions is this Infallibility 
supposed to be exercised? By what external signs 
can we rest assured that the Pope is discharging the 


office of supreme teacher of Christendom ? Is the 
consent of the Episcopate required or not? If it is, 
then men are fighting a shadow, for this is the doctrine 
universally received ; if it is not required, then they are 
introducing an unheard-of and intolerable innovation. 
But when a formula free from ambiguities has been 
discovered, then two conditions must be fulfilled : 
First, the formula, when discovered, must be proved 
by solid arguments from Scripture, from the Fathers, 
from the Councils. It must be shown that no important 
historic incidents conflict with it, that no papal act 
refutes it. The Archbishop referred to the Council of 
Constance as an example in which the statement that 
" every lawfully convoked Ecumenical Council represent 
ing the Church derives its authority immediately from 
Christ, and every one, the Pope included, is subject to 
it in matters of faith," was unanimously decreed. The 
Italian School, of course, would deny the ecumenical 
character of this decree. " That," says the Archbishop 
of Paris, " I do not admit." Moreover, in any case it 
would show the common opinion of the Bishops. All 
these questions, urged Darboy, would have to be con 
sidered and weighed. Until the necessary proofs are 
forthcoming nothing can rightfully be done. There is 
no peril in delay. But to impose irrevocably on the 
consciences of the faithful a decree with precipitation, 
and without absolute certainty, would be the gravest 
peril that can be conceived. 

As to the practical results of such a decree the Arch 
bishop observed that Papal Infallibility was offered as 
a means for strengthening authority and unity in the 
Church. But it must be remembered that the ideal 
of authority in Christendom is not that which our 
imagination or our reason represents as most desirable ; 
but that which Christ has established and our fathers 


maintained to this day. It is not our function to 
reconstruct the Church after our taste, or to alter the 
conditions of divine ordaining. Now the Church has 
never been without its essential elements. But it has 
never had a definition of Papal Infallibility. Such 
definition cannot therefore be essential. Nor have 
men the right to argue that the Church s unity would 
be firmer if authority were stronger. An institution 
may be ruined by over-pressure. Excessive concentra 
tion may paralyse its functions rather than perfect them. 

Then, again, the remedy for the evils of the world 
is not to be found in Papal Infallibility. This doctrine 
will not draw to the Church the alienated majority ; 
nor give the Church its rightful place of influence 
among the nations. The world is sick and perishing, 
not for want of knowing the truth, but for want of 
love for it. If it reject the truth now when presented 
by the collective testimony of the Church, it will not 
any the more accept it because affirmed by one 
infallible voice. And what is the value of a proclama 
tion if it is not received ? of an anathema where the 
formulating authority is not acknowledged? 

The Archbishop evidently spoke with constraint. 
His measured, diplomatic utterances suggest the firm 
ness and caution of one desirous not unnecessarily to 
offend yet resolute to speak his mind. He told the 
Council that he had delivered his conscience, so far 
as was allowed him ; that if he were to say all he 
would outrun the limits of discretion. He concluded 
by proposing, first, to postpone the scheme as having 
been introduced in a manner unworthy of the Council ; 
secondly, to reconsider more carefully the nature 
and limits of Infallibility ; and, finally, to set aside 
the subject altogether as fraught with dangerous results 
to Christendom. 


The Congregations were occupied with daily lengthy 
speeches for and against the doctrine of Infallibility 
from 1 3th May to 3rd June. On 3rd June the Presidents 
produced a petition signed by many Bishops, request 
ing that the debate might be closed. The Council was 
accordingly invited to express its opinion, and the large 
majority decided that the time for closure was come. 
Thus again the minority were defeated. 

Little more remained to be done. The special dis 
cussion followed. But the matter was approaching its 
close. The minority grew more spiritless and anxious 
for self-protection. The intense heat of the Roman 
summer told fearfully on the health of Bishops 
accustomed to northern climes. Appeals to the Pope 
for adjournment until autumn were rejected. The 
futility of protracted discussion became convincingly 
clear to the minority no less than to the majority. 1 
A desperate attempt was made by some French Bishops 
(Dupanloup and the Archbishop of Paris) to induce 
the Emperor Napoleon to request the Pope, in the 
name of humanity and reason, to prorogue the Council 
until October. But before the reply could arrive the 
minority abandoned the struggle. 2 

Many Bishops resigned their turn to speak. A 
movement for closure arose, instigated chiefly by 
Manning : at first resisted, the minority gradually 

Ultimately, amid general approval, the presiding 
Cardinal declared the discussion closed. On the I3th 
of July the proposition of Papal Infallibility was put 
to the vote. 3 The President announced that 60 1 Fathers 
had voted. Of these 451 were in favour, 88 against, 
and 62 favourable conditionally. 4 

1 Ollivier, ii. p. 329. 2 Acta, p. 756. 

3 Acta t p. 758. * Ibid, p. 760. 


The Legates further announced that the conditional 
votes would be taken into consideration, and reported 
upon in the next Congregation. Ninety-one Bishops 
also abstained from voting, although in Rome at the 
time. 1 When the members re-assembled on Saturday, 
1 6th July, a report was made on the conditional 
votes and the amendments ; but so far from anything 
being done to conciliate the minority, the wording of 
the decree was made somewhat more uncompromising 
than before. To the definition voted on the I3th, 
that the decrees of the Roman Pontiff were irreform- 
able of themselves, it was now added "and not by 
consent of the Church," thus emphasising still more 
strongly that the dogmatic authority of the Papacy 
was independent of the entire Episcopate. 2 After this 
stupendous achievement the Presidents informed the 
Bishops that, although the Council was not prorogued, 
a general permission was granted them to return to 
their dioceses until nth November (St Martin s Day). 8 

The final Public Session at which the Pope proposed 
to convert the formula into dogma of faith was fixed 
for Monday, i8th July. There was for the minority 
certainly no time to lose. They made one last 
attempt. 4 On the Saturday evening a deputation of the 
opposition, including two Cardinals and the Archbishops 
of Paris and Milan, went to the Vatican and sought 
an audience with the Pope. After waiting an hour, 
they were admitted at nine o clock. 5 The Archbishop 
of Paris was their representative. In his own name, 
and in that of his associates, he declared his sub 
mission to the doctrine of Infallibility, but requested 
the insertion of the phrase, "relying on the testimony 
of the Churches." This phrase would have acknow- 

1 Quirinus, p. 778. * Ollivier, ii. p. 337. 

8 Acta, 4 Ollivier, ii. p. 341. 6 Quirinus, p. 800. 


ledged that the witness of the Church and of the 
Episcopate was essential to any doctrine which claimed 
to be part of the Catholic faith. 1 It would have made 
the dogma much less difficult to many members of the 
Roman Church. It would have relieved the strange 
and incredible isolation in which the new formula had 
placed the Pope as apart from, independent of, the 
universal consciousness of Christendom. It would have 
suggested that the Pope represented and voiced the 
collective conviction of the Church, on whose testimony 
he was relying. But this was not the Ultramontane 
idea. And there is no occasion for surprise if Pius IX. 
rejected it. One more appeal was made to him. 
Ketteler, 2 Bishop of Maintz, threw himself on his knees 
before the Pope, and with his eyes full of tears implored 
Pius to make some concession which would restore 
peace to the Church and to the Episcopate. It is 
a striking scene. Two conceptions of the Church 
are embodied in these two men : in Pius, the 
modern Ultramontane conception of absolute authority 
centralised and condensed in one individual ; in his 
suppliant, the ancient Cyprianic conception of authority 
residing in the Collective Episcopate. In the attitude 
of the two men, the historian may see the old vainly 
pleading with the new for permission to exist ; lifelong 
believers reduced to self-contradiction as the price of 
permission to remain. It was this scene which pro 
voked a Roman contemporary 3 to say : 

" Pius is firm and immovable, smooth and hard as 
marble, infinitely self-satisfied, merciless and ignorant, 
without any understanding of the mental conditions 
and needs of mankind, without any notion of the 

1 Ollivier, ii. p. 341. 

2 Ibid. ii. p. 342; Quirinus, p. 801. 
* Quirinus, p. 802. 


character of foreign nations, but as credulous as a 

Frustrated in that last appeal, the deputation returned 
to their party. A meeting was held very late on the 
Saturday night. 1 What should the minority do ? The 
bolder spirits proposed that they should attend the 
Public Session, and openly repeat their rejection of 
the doctrine. But the bolder spirits were few. Many 
shrank from such resolute action. They held it incon 
sistent with respect for the Pope to pronounce a public 
protest in his presence at the final Session when the 
doctrine would be proclaimed. They had misgivings 
as to the number who had the courage for such a stand. 
Diminishing numbers added point to this misgiving. 
Many Bishops had already left the city, others were 
going. Was it prudent to appear in protest shorn of 
their real numerical strength ? Moreover, there were 
personal anxieties and fears. What if in the Public 
Session their protest was over-ruled ? The determina 
tion of the majority to decree the dogma at any cost 
was now beyond dispute. Illusion was impossible. The 
formidable anathema attached to the decree might in 
another forty-eight hours apply to themselves. They 
were very uneasy in the papal precincts. They would 
infinitely prefer to take refuge in the safety of their 
own cathedral cities, far away from the entanglements, 
oppressive atmosphere, moral as well as physical, in 
Rome. Consequently caution prevailed. They com 
posed a letter to the Pope, the last of their many 
futile protestations, couched in terms of deference, but 
registering their continued allegiance to their ancient 
principles. And by Sunday evening most of the seventy 
Bishops, representatives of some of the most illustrious 

1 Ollivier, ii. p. 343. 

xvii.] THE LAST PROTEST 271 

Sees in Christendom, had left the city, and hastened 
away beyond the territorial dominions of Rome. 

The last letter of the defeated minority called the 
Pope s attention to the number of disapproving prelates. 1 
To the eighty-eight who voted in the negative must be 
added the sixty-two others who expressed themselves 
dissatisfied ; and, beyond these, another seventy who 
absented themselves, although present in Rome, and 
others still who had already left the city. The large 
element of disapproval would be obvious to the Pope, and 
also to the world. Since the hour when they recorded 
their vote against the doctrine, nothing had happened to 
change their opinion : on the contrary, much to strengthen 
it. Accordingly they now renew and endorse their 
declaration. Under these circumstances they have 
resolved to absent themselves from the Public Session of 
the 1 8th; their reverence for the Holy See not permitting 
them to proceed to an open refusal of a doctrine by 
which the Pope was personally affected. They would 
therefore leave the city and return to their dioceses 
with expressions of unaltered faith and obedience. 

Among the signatures to this letter are the names of 
Cardinal Schwarzenberg ; Darboy, Archbishop of Paris ; 
Scherr, Archbishop of Munich ; Kenrick, Archbishop of 
St Louis ; Strossmayer, Bishop of Sirmium ; Bishop 
Maret. Bishop Clifford of Clifton, Bishop Dupanloup, 
Bishop Hefele. 2 

This final letter of disapproval, which sixty of the 
Bishops signed, was of course technically valueless. 
All speeches, protests, and letters count for nothing 
compared with the actual formal decision. If any 
protest were to have validity, it must be made pre 
cisely where the minority had not the courage to make 
it in the Council at the final Session ; to frustrate the 

1 A eta, p. 994. a Ibid. p. 995. 


impending decree. Yet, if it is strictly true that the 
dogma was passed with practical unanimity of all 
present, on the value of that unanimity opinions will 
legitimately differ. 

The conduct of the minority has been not unnaturally 
severely criticised. They grew feeble, says Ollivier, 1 the 
head of the French ministry, just in proportion as 
actions ought to have taken the place of words. Their 
arguments in their last consultation were weakness 
itself. Not to renew their protest in the Public Session 
was virtually to cancel the protest already made. It 
insured for the decree just that unanimity which its 
advocates desired, and which its opponents knew that 
it did not possess. It was a confession that they dared 
not utter Yes or No. 2 

Before Dupanloup left the city he sent the Pope a 
letter 3 suggesting one last expedient for averting the 
evils which a decree of Infallibility would involve. Let 
the Pope personally decline to confirm the decree. 
Let him say in the Public Session that he thankfully 
recognises the remarkable tribute to the prerogatives of 
his See, in the votes of so numerous an assembly of 
Bishops ; nevertheless, considering the circumstances, 
and after mature reflection, he believes it more in accord 
ance with apostolic wisdom and prudence to withhold 
his definite approval until a less disturbed and more 
propitious time. Dupanloup assured the Pope that 
this manoeuvre would solve the problem, release men 
unexpectedly at the last moment from incalculable mis 
fortunes, astonish the world, and win universal reverence 
and admiration. This singular epistle terminated with 
a promise to preserve inviolable silence on the advice 
which he ventured to give. 

The night passed. Early on the morning of the 

1 Ollivier, ii. p. 341. 3 Ibid. p. 343. 8 Ada, p. 993. 


eventful i8th of July, Dupanloup s reflections were 
interrupted by a sudden exclamation from his travelling 
companion, Archbishop Haynald, who sat at the 
opposite corner of the carriage. " Monseigneur," said 
Haynald, " we have made a great mistake." Dupanloup 
had no heart for further discussion. He made a sign 
that he wished to say his Office. Archbishop Haynald 
was right. If, as Dupanloup told the clergy, Bishops 
united in council with the Pope "decide questions as 
witnesses of the faith of their Churches, as judges by 
divine right " l it would seem to be not only their right, 
but their very awful duty and inalienable responsi 
bility to allow no sentiment of respect for the office of 
another to silence their convictions and frustrate their 
decisions. Thus it is true that the minority melted 
away, and that the ultimate proclamation was made 
with practical unanimity ; but this was due to a regard 
for sentiment which was, under the circumstances, 
wholly out of place. The Bishop who told his diocese 
that the definition of such prerogatives demanded other 
considerations than sentiment or filial piety, could not 
consistently withdraw his testimony to the faith of the 
Church just in the most critical moment that ever 
awaited him. 

Meanwhile in Rome the final declaration was made. 
In the presence of his faithful majority, in the midst of 
one of the fiercest storms ever known to break across the 
city, accompanied by thunder and lightning, while rain 
poured in through the broken glass of the roof close to 
the spot where the Pope was standing, Pius IX. read 
in the darkness, by the aid of a candle, the momentous 
affirmation of his own Infallibility. Variously ex 
plained by friend and foe, the storm and the darkness 
are by the one compared to the solemn legislation on 

1 Letter t9 his Clergy (1868), p. u, 



Sinai ; by the other to tokens of divine displeasure and 
approaching desolation. But whatever constructions 
were placed upon the circumstance, the dogma decreed 
indisputably declared that 

" The Definition affirms that the Roman Pontiff, when 
he speaks ex cathedra that is, when in discharge of the 
office of Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, by virtue of 
his supreme Apostolic Authority, he defines a doctrine 
regarding faith or morals to be held by the Universal 
Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in 
Blessed Peter is possessed of that Infallibility with 
which the Divine Redeemer willed that His Church 
should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith 
and morals. And that, therefore, such definitions of 
the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves and 
not from the consent of the Church." l 

For a few more meetings the diminished Council 
lingered on. 2 The eighty - seventh Congregation was 
held on I3th August, when the total of Bishops present 
was reduced to 136. Two further Sessions were held 
on 23rd August and ist of September, when the 
numbers dwindled still further to 127 and 104. But 
for all real purposes the Council met no more after 
the fourth Public Session and the proclamation of 

1 See Manning s Pastoral (1870) : The Vatican Council and its Defini 
tion^ p. 57. 

2 Acta, p. 763. 



THE 1 8th of July 1870 is from any point of view one 
of the most critical days in the history of the Papacy. 
It is the transition from old Catholicism into new. 
It is the consummation of a theory of spiritual authority ; 
the centralising and condensing of all power in one 
individual. It is not in the least the necessary or the 
logical conclusion of the principle of authority : for the 
expression of authority, either through the Collective 
Episcopate or through reception by the Universal 
Church, is just as consistent and just as logical ; and 
has the additional advantage of corresponding with 
the primitive facts of Christian history. 

The 1 8th of July was also a momentous date in the 
annals of the Roman temporal power. On the very next 
day began the Franco-Prussian War. From that date 
onwards the tragedy of conflict precluded any meeting 
of German and French Bishops in Council at Rome. 
The Council was necessarily interrupted, its resumption 
indefinitely postponed. The disaster to France meant 
the recalling of the French troops from Rome. Then 
followed the capture of the city by United Italy, and 
the establishment of the Italian Throne at the gates 
of the Vatican. The temporal power of the Papacy 



vanished like a dream, and Pius IX. considered himself 
a prisoner within the Vatican precincts. The canon 
of the Castle of St Angelo announced the entry of 
King Humbert, and various convents and palaces were 
seized and confiscated for secular departments and 
imperial uses. 

A curious Italian comment on the opposition in the 
French Episcopate may be found in the diary of 
Cardinal Pitra, a learned member of the Benedictine 
Order, resident during the Council in Rome. Cardinal 
Pitra was librarian of the Vatican, and placed himself 
in that capacity at the disposal of the Bishops. If he 
kept aloof from the intrigues of every kind which, says 
his biographer, were then so numerous, he kept a care 
ful diary of the events in which he displays himself 
as a decided Ultramontane. He even adopted the 
paradox that the passing of the new decree would 
diminish rather than increase the abyss between the 
Eastern Churches and Rome. But Pitra s comments 
after the French retreat illustrates contemporary feel 
ing. He thought that the Franco-German War, which 
immediately broke out, was providentially designed to 
prevent concerted action between the Bishops of these 
two countries. When the Italians entered Rome one 
of their first acts was to destroy the villa where 
Dupanloup during the Council had resided. This was, 
according to Pitra, because Providence desired to efface 
the reminders of opposition. Pitra traced the course of 
the war, and noted how the soldiers advanced through 
Metz, Rheims, Paris, and Orleans all Gallican cities ; 
whereas they did not reach Besan9on, Dijon, and 
Marseilles all Ultramontane Episcopates. "We are 
here," murmurs the Cardinal, "witnesses to the pre 
liminaries of the Judgment Day." 

Cecconi, Archbishop of Florence, who collected many 


documents concerned with the struggle, relates that 
Pius IX. used to distinguish three periods of the 
Council : the preparations ; the assemblies ; the con 
clusion. Of these, the first period was Satanic, the 
second Human, the third Divine. 1 

But before a minority Bishop could assent to the 
new Decree, there were questions to be faced and 
answered ; questions which he must answer in his own 
behalf, and which also he was certain to find assailing 
him, whether from his Clergy or Laity, who like himself 
had hitherto deprecated the doctrine or disbelieved it. 
There was the question, perhaps, first of all, Is this 
Council ecumenical ? Is it a true exponent of the 
Universal Church ? There are Councils of many kinds, 
with varying degrees of authority, legitimately responded 
to with varying degrees of respect. Is this Council 
of the highest kind that which possesses a real and 
absolute finality ? This question was widely debated 
within the Roman body. It was said by high authorities 
in the Roman Communion that the Vatican Council 
did not fulfil the conditions of freedom essential to the 
creation of a dogma of the faith. Many writers of the 
period assert this ; some in the most impassioned 
terms. Hefele emphatically declared it. Some affirmed 
that moral unanimity was essential to representation of 
the Universal Church. Such unanimity, it was notorious, 
the vote for Infallibility did not possess. Accordingly 
there was no rush of the defeated Bishops into immediate 
acquiescence. On the contrary, there was suspense, 
uncertainty, delay. Individual isolated Bishops took no 
decided steps. They waited to see what others would 
do, what time would produce, what thought and reflec 
tion might suggest. 

Fessler, indeed, late Secretary of the Vatican 

1 Baunard, Histoire de Cardinal Pie, p. 353. 


Assembly, assured them that their course was clear. 
He drew a sketch of the conduct which he considered 
would be ideal for a perplexed Bishop under these 
trying circumstances. 

"If even up to ... the last General Congregation 
before the Solemn Session a Bishop is not satisfied as 
to all his difficulties, or if he thinks it better that the 
decision should not yet be pronounced on such and 
such a doctrine, he may, in the interval between the 
last General Congregation and the Solemn Session, 
acquire a full conviction on the subject by discoursing 
with other theologians, by study of the subject and by 
prayer, and may thus overcome his last difficulties, 
and see that it is well that the definition should be 

This portion of Fessler s advice was not much use 
since it appeared subsequently to the final Session. 
Whether the advice to "acquire a full conviction" in 
the interval between the last General Congregation and 
the Solemn Session would have been very valuable, may 
be judged from the fact that the interval for "discourse 
with other theologians," " study and prayer," was two 
days. The subsequent struggles will show what the 
minority Bishops thought of acquiring a full conviction 
in two days. 

Should, however, the best use of the interval prove 
unavailing, Fessler s advice was as follows : 

" Nay, even if he cannot attain this full conviction 
and insight into the matter by any exertion of his own, 
he will wait for the decision of the Council with a 
calm trust in God, without himself taking part in it, 
because up to this point he lacks the necessary certainty 
of conviction. When, however, the Council by its 
decision puts an end to the matter, then at length 
his Catholic conscience tells him plainly what he must 


now think, and what he must now do; for it is then 
that the Catholic Bishop, whom hitherto unsolved 
difficulties have kept from participation in the Public 
Session, and from the solemn voting, says : * Now it 
is undoubtedly certain that this doctrine is revealed 
by God, and is therefore a portion of the Catholic faith, 
and therefore I accept it on faith, and must now 
proclaim it to my clergy and people as a doctrine of 
the Catholic Church. The difficulties which hitherto 
made it hard for me to give my consent, and to the 
perfect solution of which I have not even yet attained, 
must be capable of a solution ; and so I shall honestly 
busy myself with all the powers of my soul to find 
their solution for myself, and for those whose instruc 
tion God has confided to my care." 

Fessler omits all recognition of the possibility that 
men if placed in a dilemma between Authority and 
History may choose the latter. The effect of the Decree 
on many Bishops was not in the least to compel the 
confession, * Now it is undoubtedly certain that this 
doctrine is revealed : rather it was to awaken the 
criticism, now it is profoundly uncertain whether 
this Council is ecumenical. 

Such is Fessler s advice to Bishops who doubted the 
truth of the doctrine. To those who only considered 
its definition inopportune his counsel was : 

" Those Bishops who in the last General Congregation 
voted with the non placets , only because they really 
thought it was not a good thing, not necessary, not 
for the benefit of souls in countries well known to them, 
and who for this reason abstained from taking part 
in this decision, may after the solemn decision, if they 
think it advisible, represent to the faithful of their 
dioceses the* position which they previously adopted 
towards the doctrine, in order that their conduct may 
not be misunderstood. But they must now themselves 


unhesitatingly accept the doctrine which has been 
decided, and make it known to their people in its true 
and proper bearings, without reserve, and in such a 
manner that the injurious effects which they themselves 
apprehended may be as much as possible obviated and 
removed ; for it is not permitted to the Bishop, as the 
divinely - appointed teacher of the clergy and people, 
to be silent about or to withhold a doctrine of the Faith 
revealed by God, because he apprehends or thinks that 
some may take offence at it. Nay, rather it is his 
business so prudently to bring it about in the declara 
tion of that doctrine, that its true sense and import 
may hereafter be clearly represented, all erroneous 
misrepresentations of it be excluded, the reasons for 
the decision of the doctrine brought out plainly, and 
all objections to it zealously met and answered." 1 

No one gave greater weight to the obvious difficulties 
which the methods employed at Rome had created 
for the Decree, no one formulated them with more 
simplicity and frankness than Dr Newman. His letters 
showed how he laboured to suggest plausible grounds 
for assent to the new Decree, while leaving the 
ecumenical character of the Council for future solution. 
And, remembering that these letters were addressed 
to the believers and not to the outer world, nothing 
can show more strikingly than the arguments which 
Dr Newman employs, the profound perplexity into 
which many Romanists were thrown. 

In a letter 2 written six days after the Decree was 
passed he says : 

" I saw the new Definition yesterday, and am pleased 
at its moderation that is, if the doctrine is to be defined 
at all. The terms are vague and comprehensive ; and 
personally I have no difficulty in admitting it. The 

1 Fessler, True and False Infallibility, p. 21. 

2 See Letter to Duke of Norfolk, pp. 96, 97, 98, 99. 


question is, Does it come to me with the authority of 
an Ecumenical Council? 

" Now the primd facie argument is in favour of its 
having that authority. The Council was legitimately 
called ; it was more largely attended than any Council 
before it. ... 

"Were it not then for certain circumstances under 
which the Council made the definition, I should receive 
that definition at once. 

" Even as it is, if I were called upon to profess it, 
I should be unable, considering it came from the Holy 
Father and the competent local authorities, at once to 
refuse to do so. On the other hand, it cannot be denied 
that there are reasons for a Catholic, till better informed, 
to suspend his judgment on its validity. 

" We all know that ever since the opening of the 
Council there has been a strenuous opposition to the 
definition of the doctrine ; and that, at the time when 
it was actually passed, more than eighty Fathers 
absented themselves from the Council, and would have 
nothing to do with its act. But if the fact be so, that 
the Fathers were not unanimous, is the definition valid ? 
This depends upon the question whether unanimity at 
least moral is or is not necessary for its validity ? As 
at present advised I think it is. ... 

" Certainly Pius IV. lays great stress on the unanimity 
of the Fathers in the Council of Trent. . . . Far different 
has been the case now though the Council is not yet 
finished. But if I must now at once decide what to 
think of it, I should consider that all turned on what 
the dissentient Bishops now do. 

" If they separate and go home without acting as 
a body, if they act only individually or as individuals, 
and each in his own way, then I should not recognise 
in their opposition to the majority that force, firmness, 
and unity of view, which creates a real case of want 
of moral unanimity in the Council. . . ." 

But it is impossible not to feel that dogmas which 
men are recommended to accept on such extenuating 


pleas, dogmas whose irregularity is acknowledged 
so long as their validity is saved, dogmas which 
depend for their acceptance on the melting away 
of the episcopal minority, were evidently straining the 
faith of Catholics almost to breaking point, or they 
would never have been defended in such a manner. 
Here is nothing of the devout thankfulness for fuller 
enlightenment, or the triumph of truth ; nothing of 
the glad recognition of a decision guided by the Holy 
Ghost. Newman could never have treated the Nicene 
Council as he did the Vatican. Behind these endeavours, 
to prevent secession or schism, lies Newman s recorded 
conviction in his letter to Ullathorne. 

Newman s theory that the ecumenical character of 
the Council might be ascertained from its ultimate 
acceptance, that acquiescence on the part of the defeated 
minority would atone for any irregularities in the pass 
ing of the Decree, by no means carried conviction to 
many of the perplexed. The nature of the doctrine 
decreed seemed to exclude this kind of defence. For 
if the utterances of the Pope are infallible of themselves, 
and not from the consent of the Episcopate, it is 
difficult to base that Infallibility upon episcopal con 
sent. Instead of waiting to see what the Episcopate 
might do it would appear more appropriate to consider 
what the Pope had done. And in another letter 
written within the same anxious month this is pre 
cisely the view which Newman takes. 1 

" I have been thinking over the subject which just 
now gives you and me, with thousands of others, who 
care for religion, so much concern. 

" First, till better advised, nothing shall make me 
say that a mere majority in a Council, as opposed to 
a moral unanimity, in itself creates an obligation to 

1 See Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 98. 

xvni.] NEWMAN S LETTERS 283 

receive its dogmatic Decrees. This is a point of history 
and precedent, and, of course, on further examination I 
may find myself wrong in the view which I take of 
history and precedent ; but I do not, cannot see, that a 
majority in the present Council can of itself rule its own 
sufficiency without such external testimony. 

" But there are other means by which I can be 
brought under the obligation of receiving a doctrine 
as a dogma." 

And he proceeds to enumerate uninterrupted tradi 
tion, Scripture inference, etc. And then he propounds 
the theory that "the fact of a legitimate Superior 
having defined it, may be an obligation in conscience 
to receive it with an internal assent. ... In this case 
I do not receive it on the word of the Council, but 
on the Pope s self-assertion." 

This he supports by an appeal to the historic 
authority which the Pope has actually exercised, and to 

" the consideration that our merciful Lord would not 
care so little for His elect people, the multitude of the 
faithful, as to allow their visible Head and such a large 
number of Bishops to lead them into error ; and an error 
so serious, if an error." 

No one can fail to be impressed with Newman s 
painful consciousness of the Council s indefensible irregu 
larities ; with his refusal to acknowledge a powerful 
majority as equivalent to moral unanimity ; with his 
desire to see if the dogma cannot be accepted on other 
grounds than the Council s authority, and in particular 
on the Pope s self-assertion. All this would, of course, 
be absolutely unconvincing to any adherent of the 
ancient conception that the supreme authority is not 
to be found in the Pope s self-assertion, but in the 
Collective Episcopate. But it manifests profound mis 
givings about the Vatican Council and its methods. 


The thought that the merciful Lord would not permit 
His people to be led into error on so serious a subject 
depends for its value on the solemn question, whether 
the gifts of God are in any way conditional. If the 
transmission of grace depends upon conformity to 
conditions so also does the transmission of truth. If 
human co-operation is necessary to the achievement of 
human enlightenment, then the neglect of compliance 
with these conditions, the refusal of that co-operation, 
will be attended with serious losses which the merciful 
Lord must not be expected to prevent. The graver 
the misgivings created by the coercive methods of 
the Vatican majority, the more urgent becomes the 
enquiry, whether their refusal to comply with the true 
conditions of conciliar freedom would not be punished 
by the nemesis of a misleading Decree. Newman s 
misgivings on the Council s integrity cancel his appeal 
to the thought of the mercifulness of our Lord. This, 
at any rate, is what many within the Roman Com 
munion undoubtedly felt. They did not believe in the 
rightfulness of expecting Providence to nullify the 
perverseness and self-will of an overwhelming majority 
Subtle, attractive, bearing in every line of it the dis 
tinctive impress of his wonderful personality, Newman s 
defence is remarkable rather as a tour deforce than for 
argumentative solidity. Newman s personal assent to 
the dogma was indisputably complete. He said, 
indeed, all that it was possible to say. But even his 
brilliant genius could scarcely efface the effect of his 
own letter written to Bishop Ullathorne before the 
dogma was passed. 

" Moreover," he wrote, " a letter of mine became 
public property. That letter . . . was one of the most 
confidential I ever wrote in my life. I wrote it to my 
own Bishop under a deep sense of the responsibility I 

xviii.] NEWMAN S LETTERS 285 

should incur were I not to speak out to him my whole 
mind. I put the matter from me when I had said my 
say, and kept no proper copy of the letter. To my 
dismay I saw it in the public prints : to this day I do 
not know, nor suspect, how it got there. I cannot 
withdraw it, for I never put it forward, so it will remain 
on the columns of newspapers whether I will or not ; 
but I withdraw it as far as I can by declaring that it 
was never meant for the public eye." 

Certainly it needed no assurance from the writer to 
convince us that this letter was not designed for 
publicity. It is equally impossible not to feel that in 
that letter we have the writer s mind in its full expres 
sion. The very fact that it was never meant for the 
public eye means that it was written without that 
caution and restraint imposed by watchful critics and 
extremist partisans always ready to pounce upon 
Newman and denounce him as a minimiser at Rome. 
Thus we have his frankest declaration here. And that 
declaration was much too frank to be convenient. It 
naturally hampered him now that the doctrine was 
decreed. A certain inconsistency was required of him, 
and is reflected in his letters. Before the Council decreed 
he wrote l of the disputed doctrine, " I have ever thought 
it likely to be true ; never thought it certain." After the 
decision he wrote : 2 " For myself, ever since I was a 
Catholic, I have held the Pope s Infallibility as a matter 
of theological opinion ; at least I see nothing in the 
definition which necessarily contradicts Scripture, 
Tradition, or History." Before the decision he wrote : 
"If it is God s will that the Pope s Infallibility be 
defined, then it is God s will to throw back the times 
and moments of the triumph which He has destined 

1 Thureau Dangin, Letter to Ward, iii. p. 119. 

2 Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 99. 


for His kingdom." After the decision he wrote : " For 
myself I did not call it inopportune, for times and 
seasons are known to God alone . . . nor in accepting 
as a dogma what I had ever held as a truth, could 1 
be doing violence to any theological view or conclusion 
of my own." 1 No one will scrutinise too closely, or 
make exacting demands of rigorous self- identity, in 
letters written in the strain of so vast a change as that 
which the new Decree had wrought. Yet the various 
statements are part of the evidence to the effect 
produced, by the doctrine, upon the gifted mind then 
straining all its efforts to reassure the unsettled and 
retain them in the fold. 

The second great question to be answered was, Does 
the Infallibility Dogma accord with History ? Upon 
this subject Roman writers were greatly divided. Some 
asserted boldly that Papal Infallibility had always 
been held in the Church. Manning stated this in its 
extremest form. The doctrine had always been of 
divine faith. Newman was quite unable to accept this 
view, and supported Gladstone in rejecting it. 

" Newman," says Ambrose De Lisle, in a letter 
to Gladstone, " considers your reply to Archbishop 
Manning s contention that Papal Infallibility was 
always held as a dogma of divine faith complete, and 
that you are triumphant in your denial of it but, he 
adds, that is nothing to me. I conclude," says De 
Lisle, 2 "because he deduces it, and holds that the 
Church has deduced it in these latter days out of the 
three texts he quotes in his letter to the Duke of 

According to this view then of Newman, Papal Infalli 
bility was not to be sought in history. It would not 

1 Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 17. 
a Lift of DC Lisle, ii. p. 48. 


be found in the age, for instance, of the Fathers an 
age which Newman knew profoundly. It has slowly 
dawned upon the self-consciousness of the Church, and 
come to be realised that it possessed this organ of 
infallible utterance. Thus the necessity for squaring the 
Vatican Decree with History was entirely dispensed with. 
The principle of development was utilised to facilitate 
its acceptance and explain the apparent anomalies. 

The Pope said Newman is "heir by default" to the 
ecumenical hierarchy of the fourth century. What 
was then ascribed to all the Bishops is now ascribed 
exclusively to him. Precisely so. But by what right ? 
Newman does not say. The possibility of develop 
ment in excess, a perverse development, is not discussed. 

Thus the new Decree was, according to Newman, 
if De Lisle rightly interprets him, a deduction from 
three texts, of which the chief undoubtedly was, " I have 
prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." No perpetual 
unvarying tradition could be claimed for it. But the 
Church makes inferences from Scripture, and comes to 
realise, what once it did not realise, that the Roman 
Pontiff is infallible. 

Newman s theory of the relation of Papal Infallibility 
to History greatly perplexed some whom it was designed 
to help. 

" I confess that would not satisfy me," wrote De 
Lisle. . . . l I am far from going to all lengths with 
the Archbishop (Manning) yet ... I hold . . . that 
Papal Infallibility restricted as it is by the Vatican 
Definition, was always a part of Divine Revela 
tion. ... I maintain that it was always believed by 
the orthodox. . . ." 

Newman once wrote : " Whether the minute facts of 
history will bear me out in this view I leave to others 

1 Life of DC Lisle, ii. p. 48. 


to determine." This distressed a student of history 
such as Lord Acton. " Dollinger," said Acton, " would 
have feared to adopt a view for its own sake, without 
knowing how it would be borne out by the minute facts 
of history." * 

There were able and learned members of the Roman 
Communion to whom it was impossible to take refuge 
in Newman s theory, that this was a case of legitimate 
development. The Catholic consciousness of early ages 
presented a theory out of which Papal Infallibility could 
never legitimately grow. For the primitive conception 
was the negative, they held, of such a view. The 
primitive theory, as the Councils of the Church made 
plain, placed the final authority in the Collective 
Episcopate. The transference of this authority from 
the entire body to one individual was to them no true 
development at all, but a dislocation in the Church s 
original constitution. It really meant requiring one 
organ to discharge the functions of another ; depriving 
the original organ of what had hitherto constituted its 
essential function. And this alteration or reversal of 
functions was beyond the legitimate power of any 
authority to make. It was indeed admitted to be a 
claim of vital character. Pius IX. declared the doctrine 
to be the very essence and basis of Catholicity. Strange, 
men thought, that this essence and basis had remained 
unrealised for many centuries in the Church s conscious 
ness. And when it was said, in reply, that practically 
the Pope had exercised this Infallibility, and that its 
exercise had met with a practical recognition and 
acceptance, Roman writers answered at once, " No; 
this is not true." Undoubtedly the papal discussions 
have been accepted and believed. But hitherto there 
has always been space for belief that their validity 

1 History of Freedom, p. 408. 


depended not on their own inherent weight, but on 
the consent of the Church. 

Professor Schulte, for instance, declared that though 
a Catholic born and bred, he had never believed in 
Papal Infallibility ; nor could he find any authority 
for the July Decree either in Scripture, or in the Fathers, 
or in any other source of historical information. 

Fessler endeavoured to crush this resistance by 
labelling it private judgment. He says of Schulte that 
he " refuses to accept the definition de fide of an Ecu 
menical Council ; he cares nothing for the authority of 
the living teaching Church ; only for what he thinks 
he finds in Scripture, in the Fathers, and in other 
genuine ancient sources. This is the way to forsake 
the Catholic Church altogether. Every one is to follow 
his own guidance, his own private judgment." l 

Expressed in such a form it seems a reductio ad 
absurdum. Surely the individual may be mistaken? 
And in the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom. 
Professor This on one side, the Episcopate on the other : 
can we doubt which to follow ? Why then should not 
the professor make a sacrifice of his intellect ? Because 
if you destroy a man s confidence in his historic judgment 
in one instance, you ruin its validity in all others. Now, 
since it is by such a judgment that Christianity itself 
is accepted, to bid a man disparage his own judgment 
of history, is to undermine the very basis of his religion. 

Men found themselves, therefore, placed by the 
Decree in a very terrible dilemma. An ecumenical 
decision must be true. But history appears to refute 
it. To accept the decision is to contradict the fact of 
history. To accept history is to reject authority. That 
was the difficulty. But no man can without grievous 
loss abandon what appears to him the truth. Others 

1 Fessler, p. 24. 



endeavour to reconcile Catholics to the new Decree 
by extenuating the greatness of the change. Bishop 
Ullathorne informed his people that " the Pope always 
wielded this Infallibility, and all men knew this to be 
the fact. What practical change, then, has the defini 
tion made?" 1 Yet the same writer could urge 2 that 
the character of the age, and the opposition within the 
Church, " rendered it all the more important that the 
Pope should be armed with that full strength." It 
was then a great practical change. And this is what 
many Romans felt. There was something naive in 
the simplicity with which Ullathorne wrote : 3 " The 
Infallibility leaves all things as before, excepting that 
now it is a term of communion." Leaves all things as 
before! except that formerly men could disbelieve it 
and openly deny it, while now it is a term of com 
munion, and to disbelieve is to be cast out. Ullathorne 
clearly found it beyond his power to give any satisfac 
tion to the intelligence of his people. It amounted to 
a demand of blind assent to the hitherto discredited. 

It remains to trace the attitude of the minority toward 
the new Decree. As a whole they give the impression 
of having been crushed, almost stunned. The dreamlike 
rapidity of the movements during these last six months ; 
the sudden forcible erection of a hitherto controvertible 
and controverted opinion into an essential element of 
the Eternal Faith ; the consequent intellectual and 
moral reversions demanded of them, left them in a 
state of complete disorganisation and confusion. Their 
collective inability in Rome to resist in the final Public 
Session ; their opinion that such resistance would be 
incompatible with the respect due to the papal office, 
form conclusive evidence beforehand of their inability 

1 Dollingeritcs, p. 14. 2 Expostulation, p. 50. 

3 Dollingcrites, p. 15. 


to continue a permanent resistance when isolated in 
their different dioceses. The individual Bishop was a 
lesser power than the Bishops assembled. He was 
separated in his diocese from the support of like minded 
prelates. And, if released from the immediate pressure 
of papal influence, he was incapacitated for anything like 
concerted action. As Bishop, he lived and spoke alone. 
Communication was difficult owing to war. Interna 
tional Meetings were impossible. Meanwhile the solitary 
Bishop was beset by all the local influences which the 
Nuncios, and Jesuits and other religious orders, knew so 
thoroughly well how to wield. Rome, it has been said, 
disbelieved in the capacity of the opposition to stand 
firm ; and Rome had calculated with profound insight 
and accuracy. 

Several fugitive Bishops took the precaution before 
they left Rome of sending a letter of submission l to the 
coming Decree. 

The Archbishop of Cologne explained to the Pope 
that having given a qualified vote on I3th July he 
cannot conscientiously vote Yes on i8th July. Accord 
ingly, with great distress, and out of reverence for the 
Pope, he will avail himself of the permission to depart : 
adding that he submits himself to what the Council is 
about to decree. 

The Archbishop of Maintz wrote a similar apology. 
To oppose, in the Public Session, was repugnant to his 
feelings : nothing, therefore, remained but to depart ; 
except to add that he submitted himself to the Council s 
Decree, just as if he had remained to vote approval. 

Before submission to the new dogma, the question was 
discussed, What constitutes promulgation of a Decree? 
Such discussion was quite in keeping with precedent. 
The Decrees of Trent had been discussed before they 

1 Ada, p. 993. 


were admitted into the Church of France. Was any col- 
lective acceptance necessary, before the dogma could 
become obligatory upon the consciences of the faithful ? 
True that Infallibility had been passed at Rome ; but the 
Vatican Council was not closed it was only adjourned. 
Did the decisions of a Council become obligations until 
the Council itself had finished its work ? Questions of 
this character were argued at considerable length in the 
hope of some loophole or relief. They were, however, 
promptly crushed by a letter from the watchful Antonelli 1 
to the Brussel s Nuncio to the effect that the Decree was 
ipso facto binding on the Catholic world, and needed no 
further publication. This cut away the hope to which 
some Bishops clung, that they would not be required to 
take open action in cases where they knew acceptance 
of the doctrine to be morally impossible. 


I. The Archbishop of Paris voted, 2 consistently with his 
entire attitude, against the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, 
on the critical day, I3th July. In the interview on 
Saturday i6th, he prefaced his expostulations with a 
promise to submit ; but he also resolved to absent 
himself from the Public Session, and wrote to the Pope 
to say that he should not be present. On Sunday the 
1 7th he saw the Pope again, and said farewell. No 
allusion was made to the events of the morrow, or to the 
Council s voting. Pius confined himself to benevolent 
generalities, on the devotion of the Archbishop and 
clergy of Paris to the interests of the Church and of the 
Holy See. 8 The Pope and the Archbishop corresponded 

1 nth August. Ollivier, ii. p. 375 ; Schulte, p. 108. 

2 Acton, p. 997. 3 Guillermin, p. 254. 


subsequently ; but they never met again. Darboy left 
Rome when the Session was held, and returned home 
to his diocese. There he found everything in confusion, 
for the war against Prussia was declared. But he 
assembled his clergy at once, and commended them for 
refusing to be swayed by rumours which were necessarily 
unreliable, since those who spoke about the Council 
were not its members, while those who were its members 
had not the right to speak. 1 If there had been 
diversities of opinion in the Council on certain questions, 
these diversities were concerned less with the intrinsic 
value of the questions than with the losses or gains 
which their discussion might involve. With these, and 
similar generalities, he dismissed them. Further dis 
cussion and conference was prevented by the Franco- 
Prussian War, but it is clear that Darboy took no steps 
whatever to coerce his priests into explicit confession 
of the new decree or to enquire into their individual 

But it was evident that Rome was more than dis 
contented with the Archbishop s indifference. It was 
desired that he should renew his assurances of personal 
belief, and exhibit some interest in the conversion of the 
reluctant. In February 1871 Bishop Maret wrote to 
the Archbishop of Paris 2 to say that he had sent 
in his own submission in the previous November. 

" I am glad to hear it," replied the Archbishop. " As for 
myself, separated from the world for five months by 
the siege of Paris, I have been unable to ascertain what 
was happening, or to correspond with my colleagues or 
with Rome. I have therefore done nothing ; although 
I have given no one the right to doubt my opinions. 
Indeed the Pope knows them. He has my letter of 

1 Foulon, p. 469 ; Guillermin, p. 257. 
2 Guillermin, p. 259. 


1 8th July. It was not so much the basis of the Decree 
as the question of its opportuneness which made us 
hesitate. All the world knows this ; and, for my own 
part, I said it in full Council. It seems, therefore, to me 
superfluous to affirm to-day that I accept the Decree It 
would be even misleading; for it would give grounds 
to the suggestion that I withheld my adherence to the 
present time which is false. Still, if the Holy Father 
wishes, for the sake of people in general, that such a 
declaration should be made, it is a formality to which 
I will unhesitatingly yield." l 

The Archbishop found it prudent to take this course. 
In March 1871, he sent to the Pope a statement of 
sincere assent to the Decree. 2 He said that the War 
had prevented correspondence hitherto, and that his 
declaration might seem superfluous. But, as he hears 
that the Pope desires it, he hastens to gratify the wish. 
It was chiefly the question of opportuneness he does 
not say entirely which had prompted his opposition. 

Pius IX. replied but none too effusively. The Arch 
bishop had been for years mistrusted and disliked in 
Rome, for the independence of his actions, his determina 
tion to govern his diocese himself, and his rejection 
of ultramontane convictions. It was scarcely to be 
expected that cordiality could exist in the very 
moment of his defeat. And his submission even nowi 
was to say the least, somewhat curt. It stated the 
fact : no less, but no more. It is not the letter a man 
could write who believed himself to be the privileged 
recipient of a precious revelation of God s truth. It was 
the bare submission to a dictate which could not be 
avoided except by expulsion. The Pope replied that he 
was consoled by the Archbishop s sincere assent to the 
dogmatic definition of the Ecumenical Council of the 

1 Guillermin, p. 259. a Acta, p. 997. 


Vatican. He trusts that the Archbishop will hasten to 
propound to his people what he professes himself to 
believe. With this, the Pope sends his apostolic bene 
diction. Newman once accused Pusey of discharging 
an olive branch from a catapult; Pius IX. seems here 
to illustrate the art of conveying a rebuke through 
the instrumentality of a blessing. It is one of the 
ironies of this story that the letter was never received. 1 
These were the days of the Commune. The brave 
Archbishop, after exhibiting the most striking fortitude, 
was shot in prison. He never had the opportunity to 
read, or act upon, the Pope s advice. To his place, but 
not to his principles, succeeded Archbishop Guibert, 
who had so greatly assisted the aims of Pius IX. by 
recommending, in the Select Committee of Proposals, 
that the new doctrine should be introduced with the 
Council s deliberations. So the old order changed. 

2. Dupanloup, 2 Bishop of Orleans, voted against the 
doctrine on the I3th of July, and left for his diocese 
rather than be present at the Public Session when the 
dogma was decreed. He wrote a letter of submission 
on 1 8th February 1871. He says that he has been 
prevented from writing by the Franco-Prussian War. 
Hearing that His Holiness desires to know his attitude 
to the constitution of i8th July, he wishes to say that 
he has no difficulty in the matter. 

" I only wrote and spoke," he says, " against the 
opportuneness of the definition. As to the doctrine 
I always held it not only in my heart, but in public 
writings. ... I have no difficulty in again declaring 
my adhesion ; only too happy if I can thereby offer 
Your Holiness any comfort in the midst of his heavy 

1 Foulon, p. 505. 2 Acton, p. 999. 


Since his return from Rome he has written to his 
diocese that the conflicts of the Church are not like 
those of the world. 

These assertions of Dupanloup as to his unvarying 
faith may possibly explain why a distinguished fellow- 
countryman and head of the French Government 1 
could describe him in such terms as these : " everything 
about him indicates the irresistible dominion of impres 
sions. So convinced is he of being in the right that 
he fails to be accurate to his demonstrations. He is 
a most imperious advocate of liberty, and always under 
the influence of preconceptions." 

3. Gratry may be taken next : Gratry whose famous 
four letters had focussed in brilliant light the diffi 
culties, the contradictions, the adverse facts, the ignorant 
methods, the falsified documents. Men wondered what 
steps the former priest of the Oratory would now take ; 
now that the thing that he feared had come to pass, 
and the incredible was decreed. Gratry had endured 
much mental agony. " His own peace would certainly 
have been better insured," says his biographer, 2 "had 
he not been interrupted in that later contemplative 
study of Christian philosophy by which he hoped to 
do somewhat to make his fellowmen less unhappy, less 
unfit. But he was urged as a matter of conscience to 
enter the turmoil of polemical strife, a strife more cruel to 
one who retained his childlike simplicity, his love of 
truth, and his boundless charity, to the last hour of life." 

Gratry was very ill of the malady which killed him ; 
and it was not until November 1871, that he wrote 3 
(evidently questioned by Guibert, the new Archbishop of 
Paris) : 

1 Ollivier, i. p. 443. 

2 Adolphe Perraud, Le P. Gratry ses Derniers jours, son Testament 
Spirituel (1872), p. 43. 
8 Acta, p. 1405. 


" Had I not been very ill and unable to write a 
letter I should have long since sent you my con 
gratulations. I desire at least to - day, my lord, 
to say simply what it appears to me there was no 
necessity to say, namely that, like all my brethren in 
the priesthood, I accept the decrees of the Vatican 
Council. I cancel everything contrary to the decrees 
which I may have written on this subject before the 
decision." 1 

The Archbishop sent a kindly reply to the effect 
that he had never doubted Gratry s docility. 

" By such noble and generous examples we harmonise 
our conduct with our convictions, and prove to the 
world that we are sincere in maintaining that the light 
of faith is superior to that of our feeble and vacillating 

But how about the facts of history ? Gratry effaced 
his interpretation ; but he could not cancel the facts. 
How abandon his former convictions ? That is precisely 
what Gratry s colleagues required him to explain. An 
explanation, therefore, he attempted to give. To those 
who reproved him for accepting without reservation the 
Council s decrees, he explains that, before the Decision, 
he argued in accordance with his conscience and his 
right ; since the Decision, he had not said a word. 

"Since the Decision, and immediately after it, I had 
two interviews with my Archbishop, Mgr. Darboy. 2 
We were agreed both in words and in faith. He granted 
me my position in the Church of Paris, and my office 
of Professor of Theology at the Sorbonne. I was there 
fore at unity with my Bishop. That was obvious. It 
continued for nearly a year. Therefore, strictly speak 
ing, no one has any right to question me ; not even 

1 Acta, p. 1405. 
2 Guillermin, Vie. de Mgr. Darboy, p. 261. 


Mgr. Darboy s successor. To require of me a public 
declaration would seem like revising the acts of his 
glorious predecessor and martyr for the faith. It is 
for this last reason most of all that those among my 
friends who urged me most to publish some declara 
tion surprised and saddened me. I have constantly 
answered them that I have nothing to say, and nothing 
to write upon this subject." 

But, on reflecting that there was no necessity to cling 
tenaciously to strict rights, if an assurance would remove 
his brethren s anxiety, Gratry wrote to his new Arch 
bishop a letter of submission. That, he says, was easy. 
What would not have been easy was to say : 

" I have been a member and a soldier of the Catholic 
Church for half a century, but now comes an Ecumeni 
cal Council which I do not acknowledge. I therefore 
separate from its Communion. To contradict, at a 
single stroke, all my life, and deny all my deepest 
convictions do you blame me for not doing that?" 

If they object that this was not an Ecumenical Council 
since it was not free, Gratry replies that he is unable 
to deny its validity, and therefore he must submit to 
its decisions. Then, Gratry asks himself, what the 
great historic luminaries of the Church of France, 
Fe*nelon and Bossuet, would have done under the 
circumstances. Had Montalembert survived, he would 
certainly have submitted, as his own words prove : 
resolved, come what may, and cost what it may, never 
to transgress the inviolable limits of unity. But what 
of Gratry s letters ? Strongly worded remonstrances 
had reached him on this. How could he cancel his 
letters and their unanswerable demonstrations ? how 
contradict himself? how overthrow truths which he has 
firmly established, and re-establish the falsehoods which 
he has overthrown? To this difficult enquiry Gratry s 
answer was : 


"I mean to overthrow none of the truths which I 
may have established in these letters. I mean to re 
store no falsehood therein denounced. But I admit that 
these letters may contain mistakes ; and that it is those 
mistakes which I mean to efface." 

A distinguished Bishop, strongly opposed to the con 
tents of the letters, had been advising him that he could 
maintain a considerable portion of his letters. All that 
was necessary was to cancel what contradicted the Decree. 

Is it too much to say that this explanation is shorn 
of all the reasoning force and historic cogency of the 
famous letters? If words have any meaning, Gratry s 
entire conception of Honorius, and the attitude of the 
Councils towards him, left no room for the Vatican 
Dogma. The explanation reveals nothing so plainly 
as profound intellectual perplexity. 

Gratry also wrote an explanatory letter to M. Legouve, 
a colleague in the French Academy. 

" I opposed inspired Infallibility ; the Council s decree 
has rejected inspired Infallibility. I opposed personal 
Infallibility ; the Decree affirms official Infallibility. 
Some writers of the School which I consider exaggerated 
did not wish for Infallibility ex cathedra, which seemed 
to them too narrow a restriction : the Decree affirms 
Infallibility ex cathedra. I almost feared a scientific 
Infallibility, a political and governmental Infallibility: 
but the Decree only affirms doctrinal Infallibility, in 
matters of faith and morals. 

"All this does not mean that I made no mistakes 
in my opposition. Doubtless I have made mistakes, 
both on this subject and on others ; but as soon as 
I recognise my error I cancel it, without feeling 
thereby humiliated." 

This letter was not printed until 1907. And it 
appears that Gratry wrote still further explanations 


which have not been published yet. A recently printed 
letter of Charles Perraud contains the following important 
postscript : 

" Father Gratry bids me say that he has just finished 
a little work in which he explains his reasons and 
above all the limits of his submission to the Council s 
decree. He had already given a summary of these 
explanations in a letter to M. Legouve (who unhappily 
will not agree to publish it, I cannot imagine why). 
I was not with Father Gratry when he sent his letter 
to the Archbishop of Paris. I regret exceedingly 
that he began with that, whereas he ought to have 
begun by publishing the writing which I have recently 
been reading. It contains definitions and distinctions 
of very great significance, especially in a matter where 
every shade of meaning has its distinctive worth. They 
are altogether mistaken who suppose that Father Gratry 
has treated with contempt the historic evidence. God 
give him time to say on this matter all that I know 
he desires to say." 

But this document, without which the complete story 
of Gratry s submission cannot be told, has never been 
permitted to see the light. For whatever reason, 
Adolphe Perraud, Gratry s literary executor and 
biographer, withheld it from history. 

But Gratry did not long survive the passing of the new 
Decree. " And," says his biographer, " most assuredly 
the trials of this period shortened his days." l 


Archbishop Kenrick of St Louis represented opposi 
tion in the American Church. During the Council 
he had warmly supported Dupanloup against American 

1 Perraud, p, 44- 


" Many among us," he wrote, 1 " believe that Ecclesi 
astical history, the history of the Popes, the history 
of the Councils, and the Tradition of the Church, are 
not in harmony with the new doctrine. Therefore we 
think it most inopportune to define as a dogma of 
faith an opinion which seems to us a novelty in the 
Church, destitute of solid foundation in Scripture and 
Tradition, and contradicted by indisputable evidence." 

In his speech which the closure of June prevented 
from being delivered, but which he printed 2 and 
circulated, he was more emphatic still. 

" I dare to affirm that the opinion as expressed in 
the Schema is not a doctrine of the faith, and never 
can become such by any definition even of a Council." 

On the 1 3th of July Archbishop Kenrick voted in 
the negative, signed the protest of the I7th, and with 
the body of the opposition fled away. Having thus 
registered his informal and useless protest he accepted 
the new Decree. This surrender provoked a letter from 
Lord Acton asking the Archbishop for the grounds 
of his submission. History has preserved the pages of 
Kenrick s reply. 3 He said that "sufficient time seems 
to have elapsed to allow the Catholic world to 
decide whether or not the decree of the Council was 
to be accepted." The greater number of the Bishops, 
some to the Archbishop s surprise, had already yielded 
assent. As for himself 

" I could not defend the Council or its action ; but 
I always professed that the acceptance of either by 
the Church would supply its deficiency. I accord 
ingly made up my mind to submit to what appeared 
inevitable, unless I were prepared to separate myself 

1 Acta.) p. 1375, 2nd May 1870. 

2 Friedrich s Documcnta^ p. 210. 

3 Schulte, Der Altkathfotsmus, p. 267. 


at least in the judgment of most Catholics from the 

His act of submission "was one of pure obedience, 
and was not grounded on the removal of my motives 
of opposition to the decrees, as referred to in my 
speech, and set forth in my pamphlets." He hears 
from Rome that the Pope requires him to retract his 
pamphlets. " This I shall not do, no matter what the 
consequences may be." 

For intellectual justification in this submission Kenrick 
appealed to Newman s theory of Development. If it 
justified Newman in becoming a Catholic, " I thought 
that it might justify me in remaining one." To this the 
Archbishop added the following memorable sentence : 

" Notwithstanding my submission, I shall never teach 
the doctrine of Papal Infallibility so as to argue from 
Scripture or Tradition in its support, and shall leave 
to others to explain its compatibility with the facts 
of Ecclesiastical history to which I referred in my reply. 
As long as I may be permitted to remain in my present 
station I shall confine myself to administrative functions, 
which I can do the more easily without attracting 
attention, as for some few years past I have seldom 

His whole experience, he says, has taught him that 
there can be no liberty in any future sessions of the 
Council ; and this is warning enough to Bishops that 
they must not handle roughly the delicate matters on 
which they have to decide. 

The records of intellectual servitude present few more 
painful documents than this. Whether one regards the 
doctrine, the Archbishop, or the facts of history, such 
an attitude bristles with intellectual if not moral incon 
sistencies. He thinks acceptance by the Church will 


redeem the doctrine from conciliar defects : but the 
essence of the doctrine is Infallibility apart from the 
Church s consent. As Bishop he is a witness to the 
Faith : yet he observes in silence, and registers one by 
one the submission of other Bishops. He accepts what 
he will not proclaim, and cannot defend. Meanwhile, 
the facts of history continue, as before, demonstrably 
irreconcilable with the New Decree. The sole virtue 
by which everything else is supposed to be redeemed 
is the virtue of submission. Theories such as this can 
only exist as a dark background to enhance the moral 
and spiritual superiority of sincere unbelief and genuine 
schism ; or to warn for ever against the disastrous 
consequences which follow such exercises of authority 
as that which produced the Vatican Decree. 

Cardinal Hohenlohe 

The "Memoirs" of Prince Hohenlohe include numerous 
confidential letters from his brother, Cardinal Hohenlohe, 
who was resident in Rome during the Council of the 
Vatican. The Cardinal had no sympathy whatever 
with the attempt to elevate the theory into a dogma 
of the Faith. 

His repugnance to the proceedings at the Vatican 
took also a practical shape. " I go as little as possible 
to the Meetings of the Council," he wrote ; adding 
a private wish that the Jesuits might stick fast in the 
morass of their operations. Their activities, however, 
increased. On the eve of the great Decision, Cardinal 
Hohenlohe wrote the following remarkable words : 


"To-day is to take place the sitting in which the 
Pope will proclaim the doctrine of Infallibility. The 
Bishops of the minority are leaving ; some of them 
went yesterday evening, among others the Archbishop 
of Munich ; others go away to-night. They will not 
be present at the sitting, and have sent in a protest. 
I am not very well, and I, too, am not going to the 
sitting. This morning I wrote a few lines to Cardinal 
Schwarzenberg, which I here transcribe, of course in 
the strictest confidence, because they make clear my 
sentiments. . . . * If on the question of Infallibility I 
declare myself entirely in agreement with Cardoni l I 
would yet have voted non placet, since the question 
is not opportune, and was not treated conciliariter, 
and I will have neither part nor lot in the guilt of this 
unhappy measure, which has caused so many souls to 
stumble in the faith. But further, the Council is no 
longer a Council. We may admit that it was convened 
legaliter, but from the moment when the methodus was 
imposed upon us, the conciliar composition of this un 
happy assembly was at an end/ 

" So much for my letter to Cardinal Schwarzenberg. 
It is sad enough that one has to speak so, but I am 
pierced in the innermost depths of my soul with such 
intense pain, that I could hardly bear it if I had not 

the consolation of the Holy Mass." 


Cardinal Hohenlohe says that he had been taught 
to believe that papal decisions ex cathedra were infallible. 
What is clear is that the Council contributed nothing 
to a belief which he held as a theological opinion, and 
not as a dogma of faith. A letter from the Pope s 
private secretary expressed regret at his absence from 
the Decision on i8th July. Hohenlohe replied that he 
had always believed in Infallibility. 

Quoting this reply, in a letter to his brother, the 
Cardinal added, confidentially: 

1 An advocate of the infallibilist theory. 


" There is nothing here about the Council and 
dogmatic constitution, nor did I even write that to 
the Pope, but only to Mgr. Cenni (the private secretary), 
without in the least instructing him to communicate 
it to his Holiness. So long as I am unconvinced of 
the validity of the Council, so long can I do no more, 
since I shall yet have to give an account before God, 
and I would not get into an unpleasant situation there." 

Prince Hohenlohe was not less discouraged than the 
Cardinal. What particularly grieved him was the lack 
of moral courage in the German Bishops. To others 
and to himself it seemed a 

" disgraceful apostasy of the German Bishops, seeing that 
after they had pledged themselves, before their departure 
from Rome, to decide nothing about the Dogma of 
Infallibility without previously taking council together, 
they should nevertheless have submitted individually. 

" When one views the moral ruin, the complete lack 
of honour among the Bishops, one shudders at the 
influence which the Jesuitical element in the Church 
can exert on human nature." 

It is natural to enquire what overt action the 
advocates of these views and its sympathisers in the 
Roman body would adopt. The excommunication of 
Dollinger roused still further feeling ; and an important 
meeting of political opponents of things ultramontane 
was held in Berlin. There was among them a strong 
desire for action of some kind, and for emphatic opposi 
tion. But Prince Hohenlohe disapproved. 

" I demonstrated," he says, "that it was necessary above 
all things for us to remain in the Catholic Church. So 
long as we had no Bishops, no clergy, and no congrega 
tions, but only a number of cultured laymen, we could 
not talk of an old Catholic Church. It was a case of 
waiting till the Pope should die,- and then there was 



hope of a better spirit in the Catholic Church. If we 
left the Church and this might be the result of any 
serious step the Catholic Church would lose so many 
reasonable men to no purpose." It was therefore 
decided to remain quiet. " I do not think," Prince 
Hohenlohe wrote, " that the agitation will produce any 
great results. Interest in the person and fate of 
Dollinger, for it is nothing more, does not make a 
reformation. Interest in dogmatic subtleties no longer 

The Prince recorded his personal convictions in the 
following memorandum : 

" I am of opinion that the Concilium Vaticanum of 
1869-1870 is in no way ecumenical, and that the time 
will come when the Infallibility of the Pope proclaimed 
therein will be pronounced heresy. But as the Bishops 
collectively and almost all the clergy have accepted 
the doctrine set forth, he who denies the doctrine must 
secede from the Catholic Church. ... I have, there 
fore, refrained from expressing my opinion openly, 
especially as I believe that the Old Catholic Community 
cannot remain where it now stands, but will be driven 
further. ... So far as I am concerned, I wish the 
Catholic Church to reform herself. That can and will be 
done only with the co-operation of her Bishops. This 
co-operation will not take place until the moment has 
come for the assembling of a really Ecumenical Council. 
Even if this is an empty hope, it in no case alters 
my present opinion. In this case the Catholic Church 
is doomed to fall, and then other forms of religion will 
be constituted, which we need not now discuss. In the 
meantime I have this hope, and therefore am waiting. 
Hence I remain a member of the Church, without going 
over to the Ultramontanes." 


I. Hefele, Bishop of Rottenburg, formerly Professor of 
Theology in the University of Tubingen, and learned, 


perhaps above any man then living, in the Councils 
of the Church, was held in high reputation for his 
history of the Councils, which is still the best modern 
authority on the subject. He was well known as the 
reverse of ultramontane. Twelve years before the 
Vatican Council assembled he stated the facts about 
Pope Honorius in such a manner as to show that history 
absolutely forbade the ascription to a Pope of the 
attribute of Infallibility. 

Being consecrated Bishop at the end of 1869 he had 
a place in the Vatican Assembly, where he was most 
active in opposition. Just in the critical hour of the 
Infallibility debate he published (in April, 1870) at 
Naples, since Papal regulations prevented its publica 
tion in Rome, a forcible pamphlet on the case of Pope 
Honorius, and his treatment by the Sixth General 
Council. Hefele now declared that Honorius " set 
aside the distinctively orthodox technical term for the 
two wills, human and Divine, in Christ ; sanctioned the 
distinctively technical term of the Monothelite heresy ; 
and commended this double error to the acceptance 
of the faithful." Further, he maintained that the sixth 
Ecumenical Council had claimed the right to pass 
judgment on this authoritative Papal decision, and to 
pass anathema upon the Pope as a teacher of heresy. 
Finally, he maintained that from the fifth to the eleventh 
century each Pope in his consecration oath had made a 
declaration which involved two things : first, that a 
Council can condemn a Pope for heresy, and secondly, 
that Honorius was rightly so condemned for having 
supported an error by his decree on faith. 

This emphatic rejection of Infallibility was circulated 
among the members of the Council in Rome, with 
intention to prevent the doctrine from being decreed. 

Hefele also wrote from Rome to Dollinger, com- 


plaining that the majority interfered with the minority s 
freedom of speech ; that the Pope s personal inter 
ventions and criticisms on the minority made their 
independent action exceedingly difficult ; that these 
experiences were diminishing the courage, if not the 
numbers, of the opposition ; that it was difficult to know 
what movement to take when a halter was round your 
neck ; that hardly anybody dared openly to say what 
their ultimate intentions were ; that the majority mean 
while confidently assured them that the Pope would 
settle everything, and that then the alternative would 
be submission or excommunication. 

On the 1 3th of July Hefele voted in the negative, 
On the 1 7th he signed the protest and then returned to 
his diocese without waiting for the Public Session. In 
a letter to Dollinger he attempted to justify this. He 
said that from the number of negative votes on the I3th 
of July he had hoped that many Bishops would remain 
for a final protest in the Public Session of the i8th. 
But in the general exodus this hope evaporated. He 
acknowledged that ^he written protest sent to the Pope 
was weak, because destitute of formal validity. It could 
not possibly avert the public definition of the Decree. 
As for himself he feels that his duty is clear. He 
has been in consultation with his Chapter and his 
Theological Faculty. He cannot accept the new dogma, 
as it stands, without the necessary limitations. He 
knows that Rome may suspend him, and excommunicate 
him. Meantime he has been urging upon another 
Bishop that disbelief in the Council s validity is not 
heretical. His own line consists in quiescence, so long 
as Rome does not actively intervene. What else to do 
he does not know in the least. At any rate to hold as 
Divinely revealed what is not true is for him simply 
impossible (September 1870). He can no more conceal 


/from himself in Rottenburg, than he could in Rome, 
that the new dogma is destitute of any true rational, 
Scriptural, or traditional foundations. It is injurious to 
the Church in incalculable ways. The Church has 
suffered no severer and deadlier wound of modern times 
than that inflicted on the i8th of July. Yet he can see 
no way of escape. He writes repeatedly to Dollinger ; 
complains that Dupanloup persists in asking questions, 
but will not say what he intends to do. Meanwhile, 
Hefele is being worried and baited on every side. 
Appeals pour in from France and America, urging sub 
mission. He is certain that a schism would have no 

chance. The world is too indifferent, and the opposition 
too dispersed. There is nothing for it but submission, 
or exclusion. On the other hand, it is to him indis 
putably clear that the final session of the Vatican 
Council had no ecumenical character. Romanism and 

j Jesuitism have altered the nature of the Catholic 
Church. Hefele s letters become still more piteous. 
His troubles are increasing. His own diocese is turning 
against him. He had not believed it possible that the 
dogma could so pervade his diocese. Even his oldest 
friends are turning against him. Rome also is improv 
ing the occasion. He is refused the usual faculties, so 
that people in all parts of the diocese cannot get 
married, and the local clergy are utilising this to set 
the people against him. What on earth is he to do? 
He gives way to lamentations. The position of a 
deprived and excommunicated Bishop is to him 
abhorrent one he could hardly tolerate. At an earlier 
stage it was open to him to resign, and gladly would he 
lay down an office which has made him such an 
oppressed and unhappy man. He must resign or 

Which of the two it will ultimately be it is not by 


this time difficult to predict. Hefele can see no glimmer 
of hope in any distant development. It is not to be 
expected that the Constitution Pastor Eternus will be 
revoked by a future Pope, or the fourth session of the 
Vatican Council pronounced invalid. The utmost that 
can be looked for is a further explanation. By this time 
he is the only German Bishop who has not published 
the Constitution. He cannot adequately express his 
grief that Dollinger should see no escape from suspen 
sion or excommunication. Is there no compromise 
with the Archbishop possible? He utters wild and 
useless laments over the Synod of German Bishops at 
Fulda. Oh, what might not have been done in Germany 
if only the Bishops at Fulda had stood firm ! Yet 
he took no steps against them. Then he ends with 
deploring Dollinger s own impending fate. To think 
that Dollinger, so long the champion of the Catholic 
Church and its interests, the first of the German theo 
logians, should be suspended or excommunicated ; and 
that by an Archbishop who has not done a thousandth 
part of the service that Dollinger had done ! That 
is terrible ! The conclusion was now quite plain. 

/Dollinger s replies were useless, and Hefele proceeded 

/ to publish the Vatican Decree. 

It remained, and this was more difficult, to revise the 
case of Honorius in the light of the new dogma. In 
the second edition of his " History of the Councils," 
Hefele observes : 

" We always were of the opinion that Honorius was 
quite orthodox in thought, but, especially in his first 
letter, he has unhappily expressed himself in a Mono- 
thelite fashion." This opinion he still retained, " even 
if ... as a result of repeated new investigation of this 
subject, and having regard to what others have more 
recently written in defence of Pope Honorius, I now 


modify or abandon many details of my earlier state 
ments, or in particular, form a milder judgment of the 
first letter of Honorius." 

Still, even now, his historic sense constrains him to 
speak of the " the unhappy sentence, accordingly we 
acknowledge one will of our Lord Jesus Christ/ which 
taken literally is quite Monothelite." Still he is con 
strained to say, " Honorius ought to have answered." 
And as for the Monothelites themselves, " the fact that 
the Pope gave utterance to this their primary proposi 
tion must have given essential assistance to their cause." 

2. Melchers, Archbishop of Cologne, professed him 
self in the Council ready to accept the dogma as a 
personal belief; but he accumulated many arguments 
to show the extreme unwisdom of enforcing it upon 
the Church, especially in the existing state of sharply- 
divided opinion. On the critical I3th of July he gave a 
conditional vote. His own subsequent compliance was, 
therefore, comparatively easy. It was entirely another 
matter to restore unity to his diocese. 1 Back in his 
diocese he called the German Bishops together at 
Fulda. Only nine arrived, but they agreed to take 
measures to impose the doctrine upon the recalcitrant. 
It became the Archbishop s function to reduce to 
submission the Theological Faculty of Bonn, among 
others the distinguished professors, Langen and Reusch. 

3. The interview between the Archbishop of Cologne 
and Professor Reusch has been recorded. 

The Archbishop told the Professor that the highest 
authority had spoken, and submission was his duty. 
The Professor replied that his convictions would not 
allow it. The Archbishop retorted that he laid too 
much stress on his convictions. Reusch replied that he 

1 See pp. 241, 242. 


dared not go against them. The Archbishop restated 
the duty of submission to authority ; the Professor said 
that he could only leave his convictions to the judg 
ment of God. 

But, persisted the Archbishop, the Council was free 
and ecumenical, and the definition unquestionably valid. 
He acknowledged that he had himself implored the 
Pope not to allow the discussion to begin ; but the 
majority thought otherwise. And, added the Arch 
bishop, with a happy inspiration, you know that the 
doctrine has been recently taught in the Catechism of 
this diocese. Until now, replied Reusch, the opposite 
doctrine has been taught in all the schools, in a book 
bearing the episcopal imprimatur. The Archbishop 
could only reply that the book would be altered now, 
and that its author had already conformed. But, 
objected the Professor, if the opposite has been taught 
up to the 1 8th of last July, it cannot be a heresy. 

The Archbishop could only enquire whether the 
Professor would make any concession of any kind. He 
said he would avoid contradiction, and study further. 
The Archbishop pointed out that Rome would never 
be satisfied with that. Do you wish, he asked, to die 
without the Sacraments ? The interview was adjourned, 
and then resumed, but fruitlessly. The Archbishop 
recommended him to go into retreat. The Professor 
doubted whether this could alter facts of history. His 
reward was excommunication. 

Reusch s reflections on the interview with his Arch 
bishop show what resistance cost him. " How painful it 
was, he wrote, although I continued calm and the Arch 
bishop always friendly, you can well imagine. But I 
formed a gloomier opinion of his narrow-mindedness 
than ever before." Melcher s insistence on the duty of 
unlimited intellectual submission left, so far as Reusch 


could see, no room for reason. It provoked the criticism 
that the Archbishop would credit four Persons to the 
Trinity if a papal constitution demanded it. But for 
himself, Reusch wrote in terms almost of despair. That 
he might no longer pursue his mission as a teacher was 
hard enough. That he might no more discharge his 
priestly functions, nor obtain absolution and communion 
was terrible. But yet he would be more unhappy still 
if these had been obtained at the price of assenting to 
the dogma. And Reusch uttered his grief in the words 
of Ecclesiastes : 

" Wherefore I praised the dead which are already 
dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, 
better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, 
who hath not seen the evil work that is done under 
the sun." 

There remained, however, a work for Reusch to do. 
He found within the old Catholic communion a freedom 
to retain unaltered the faith which, up to that year, he 
had taught within the communion of Rome. 

4. The fate of Langen, Theological Professor of 
Bonn, was somewhat similar to that of Reusch. When 
asked for his assent to the new Decree, Langen con 
tended that the University statutes secured him his 
office conditionally on assent to the decisions of Trent ; 
and that no alteration of these conditions could be 
made without approval of the Government. The Arch 
bishop overruled this contention, and Langen declined 
to submit. Like Reusch, he was excommunicated. 
Langen has left behind him a history of the Roman 
See, and an extremely learned and exhaustive history 
of interpretation of the Scripture-texts usually adduced 
in behalf of the papal claims. Both these works display 
that Langen could not accept the new definition with 
out falsifying the facts of history. 


5. Another German rejection of the doctrine is that of 
Dr Hasenclever. 1 

" With countless other companions in faith I find 
myself reduced by the Papal Decree of i8th July 1870 
to the alternative of either denying against my 
conscience the ancient faith as I received it, and on 
the basis of which I have remained for five and twenty 
years in the Catholic Church, or of placing myself in 
hopeless antagonism to a justly revered authority 
through refusal to submit." 

Undoubtedly the principle is true that when the 
Church has once spoken all uncertainty is taken away ; 
but no less undoubted is the principle that where a 
contradiction exists, a manifest deviation from tradition, 
it is impossible that it is the Church which has spoken. 
It is impossible, he says, for him to bring into harmony 
the new teaching on the Pope s Infallibility with the 
Catholic Faith taught him by the Tridentine and Roman 

The constitution of the Church, he argued, differs 
from that of a State, for while the latter may assume 
at various periods a democratic, an aristocratic, a 
monarchical form the former must maintain its self- 
identity. This principle of identity and continuity is, 
he acknowledges, recognised in the Anglican Church 
which, while uncertain of the validity of its claims, he 
admits, is thereby distinguished from the Protestant 
types. But his sympathies are with the principle that 
the constitution of the Church cannot change its form. 
He is as opposed to a spiritual dictatorship as to 
Protestantism itself. Is it possible that the conception 
of supreme authority in the Church which has held 
good for eighteen hundred years, is no longer decisive ? 
So men enquired in amazement when the news of the 

1 1872, 


schemes of the Roman Curia began to circulate. That 
some reforms should be necessary was natural enough ; 
but that a radical change must be made in the constitu 
tion of the supreme teaching body this was incredible 
even to many of the blindest followers of the Curia. 
The Church has never exhibited a trace of uncertainty 
on the method of securing finality in a question of faith. 
It has been through the Collective Episcopate united with 
its chief. In the Collective Episcopate as representative 
of Christendom at large, the Church has acknowledged 
the apostolic teaching office, the witness to its faith, the 
judge of error. The mission of a Universal Council is 
to give collective testimony to the faith of the Fathers. 
This collective testimony might be voiced through the 
Holy See, but it is impossible to discover in Revelation 
a basis for the theory that the collective testimony is 
not valid until the Holy See endorses it. The ancient 
principle is to rest in the testimony of all churches : 

" Ecumenical Councils," says Alzog, speaking of the 
early centuries, " the real representatives of the Catholic 
spirit, were in these ages of burning controversy the 
decisive authority, the supreme tribunal which ended 
all dogmatic disputes. And," adds Hasenclever, "it 
was exactly when this principle became challenged by 
another that the risk of schism appeared." 

Moreover, a mathematical formula may illustrate the 
effect of the papal claim on the Episcopate. If a + b = a 
then b o\ or, at any rate, is a practically negligible 

Hasenclever complains that he can nowhere obtain a 
direct reponse to the question, How is it that innumer 
able treatises and works of all kinds approved by the 
Church have hitherto affirmed that Papal Infallibility is 
no part of the Catholic Faith ? What particularly 


scandalised him was the sudden condemnation, by 
placing on the Index, books which have been for a 
considerable period accepted authorities within the 
Church. He failed to see that to bestow sanction 
publicly upon a treatise, and afterwards to pronounce it 
heretical, was consistent with the maintenance of an 
unchanged faith. Moreover, if Papal Infallibility had 
been the traditional principle, the entire history of the 
Church must have presented a very different apearance 
from what it does. Where, he asks, is any faith in 
an infallible Pope exhibited in the Church during the 
Arian struggles? Certainly the Bishops of the Sixth 
Ecumenical Council conducted matters on somewhat 
different lines from those suggested to us by infalli- 
bilists to-day. They treated the Pope Honorius just 
as they would have treated any other heretic. And 
his successors did the same. The infallibilist falls 
into Scylla if he escapes Charybdis. When entreated 
to make a sacrifice of his intellect to this demand of 
the Vatican Decree, Hasenclever can only reply that 
such sacrifice paralyses the innermost depths of personal 
existence. To him it is nothing less than a suicidal 
suppression of that characteristic which raises us into 
resemblance to God. Those who cannot bring them 
selves to this abandonment of their human dignity 
will be constrained to say, in spite of all the seductions 
of superficial and sophistic reasonings, that the doctrine 
of the personal infallibility of the Pope stands in irre 
concilable contradiction with the actual faith of the 
Catholic Church ; and, accordingly, it is impossible that 
a real Ecumenical Council should have decreed it. 

6. But these were minor incidents. The religious atten 
tion of Germany centred on Dollinger at Munich. On 
1 7th July Archbishop Scherr of Munich left Rome with 
the minority. On the i8th the new dogma was pro- 


claimed. On the igth Archbishop Scherr was back in 
Munich again. On the 2ist the Theological Faculty, 
headed by Dollinger, met him. Scherr s criticisms 
of the Roman precedure, says Dollinger s German 
biographer, Friedrich, confirmed them in the views of 
the Council which they had already taken. But, said 
Scherr, Rome has spoken. There was nothing for it 
but submission. The Theological Faculty were totally 
unprepared for the Archbishop s surrender. Upon 
Dollinger it created the most painful impression. He 
knew that the Archbishop s convictions, better judgments, 
sympathies, were all on the other side ; and that, like 
the other Bishops of the minority, he had abandoned 
the Council because he could neither bring himself 
to acquiesce silently in the proclamation of what he 
deprecated, nor summon courage to protest for what 
he had hitherto believed. The feebleness of the Arch 
bishop s excuses, the frank condemnation pronounced by 
him on the methods by which the result had been 
secured, only set in stronger light the incongruity of his 
submission. Naturally they served to confirm Dollinger 
still more in his opinion of the absence of real freedom 
in the Council Chamber at St Peter s. 

Dr Liddon, who was in Munich on 29th July, gave 
the following account of Dollinger some ten days after 
the passing of the Decree : 

" A large amount of our conversation, of course, 
turned on the Council and the Definition ; and he 
speaks with the most entire unreserve. He says that 
the great danger now is lest the Bishops of the minority, 
being separated from each other, and exposed to the 
powerful influences which can be brought to bear on 
them, should gradually acquiesce. Nothing would be 
worse for the cause of the Church in Germany than 
the spectacle of such submission to a purely external 
and not really competent authority (he dwells much 


on the scheme de concilia, as completely destroying the 
freedom, and so the authority, of the Council), with 
a notorious absence of any internal assent. The Arch 
bishop of Munich is very anxious. He told Dr Dollinger 
that the deputation which went to the Pope, begging 
him to spare the Church, nearly carried its point." 

It is clear from this and other sources that the Arch 
bishop of Munich, if left to himself, had no desire to 
proceed to extremities with the opponents of the Decree. 
But Dollinger fully realised, ever since the first mention 
of Infallibility as a subject for decision, that excom 
munication lay before him if the Decree was passed. 
Archbishop Scherr found himself reluctantly driven to 
the painful task of imposing on the theologians a 
reversal of belief similar to that which he had himself 
undergone. Rome was determined that the Munich 
stronghold of the minority should be brought into 
line with the new Decree. The Archbishop was made 
the instrument for effecting this. He wrote a letter to 
the Munich Faculty of Theology, in which he said that 
harassing doubts widely prevailed as to the attitude 
which the Theological Faculty meant to adopt toward 
the Vatican Council. It was his duty as Archbishop to 
set these doubts at rest. As for himself, he frankly 
owned that, during the deliberation at Rome, he gave 
utterance to his own opinion with all the positiveness of 
a conviction attained after mature consideration. " But," 
he added, " I never intended to retain this conviction of 
mine if the decision should turn out differently." Accord 
ingly he invites the Theological Faculty to follow suit. 
The faculty, as a body, complied. But neither Friedrich 
nor Dollinger. The Archbishop waited two months. 
Then he wrote entreating Dollinger to conform. To 
this Dollinger replied that assent to the recent Decree 
would require him to refute his lifelong historical teaching. 


He would have to declare that his doctrine hitherto was 
false and perverted. In the face of his public declarations 
no one would believe in the sincerity of his submission. 
All the world would consider the transition a hypo 
critical instance of convictions denied from fear and 
personal interest. In the terribly painful situation into 
which recent events had brought him, Dollinger asked 
for further delay. This was granted, but, of course, to 
no purpose. Just in this hour of critical suspense, when 
the decisive step must be taken, came the piteous appeal 
from Hefele. Was no compromise with the Arch 
bishop possible? That Dollinger, the first of German 
theologians, should be suspended or even excom 
municated ; and that by an Archbishop who had not 
done a thousandth part of the service Dollinger had 
rendered to the Church ! This was terrible. Hefele s 
letter gave Dollinger what he calls the first completely 
sleepless night in his life. But it could not alter his 
convictions. Dollinger sent his answer in to the Arch 
bishop. He took his definite and final stand on the 
ancient principles. He could do no other. Dollinger 
said, in his reply, that the Jesuits, in advancing their 
scheme of papal absolutism, assured their adherents 
and disciples, and convinced many, even Bishops, that 
the noblest Christian heroism consists in the sacrifice 
of the intellect, and in surrendering one s mental judg 
ment and self-acquired knowledge and power of dis 
cernment to an infallible papal magisterium as the 
only sure source of religious knowledge. This, in his 
opinion, was to elevate mental sloth to the dignity of a 
meritorious sacrifice, and to renounce the rights and 
the claims of history. 

The question of Papal Infallibility was an historical 
question, which must be tested by historical investiga 
tion ; by the patient scrutiny of facts in the centuries 


past. If this doctrine were true, it would assuredly be 
not merely one truth among many, but the actual 
foundation of the rest. How could the basal principle 
have been obscured through centuries? 

"We are still," wrote Dollinger to the Archbishop, 
"waiting the explanation how it is that, until 1,830 years 
had passed, the Church did not formulate into an article 
of faith a doctrine which the Pope, in a letter addressed 
to your Grace, calls the very foundation principle of 
Catholic faith and doctrine ? How has it been possible 
that for centuries the Popes have overlooked the denial 
of this fundamental article of faith by whole countries 
and in whole theological schools ? And was there a 
unity of the Church when there was a difference in 
the very fundamentals of belief? And may I further 
add how is it then that your Grace yourself resisted 
so long and so persistently the proclamation of this 
dogma ? You answer, because it was not opportune. 
But can it ever be inopportune to give believers the 
key to the whole building of faith, to proclaim the 
fundamental article on which all others depend ? Are 
we not now all standing before a dizzy abyss which 
opened itself before our eyes on the i8th July?" 
Dollinger concluded with a deliberate and emphatic 
rejection of the new Decree : " As a Christian, as a 
theologian, as a historian, as a citizen, I cannot accept 
this doctrine." 

Dollinger s biographer assures us that this reply to 
the Archbishop of Munich brought Dollinger hundreds 
of letters, telegrams, addresses from Germany, Austria, 
and Italy, in congratulation for his firmness and strength. 
The Archbishop was in great perplexity. He sent a 
telegram to Rome asking what his next move should 
be. Antonelli replied promptly and curtly that the 
whole affair was exclusively within the Archbishop s 
jurisdiction. This cut off all delay and all retreat. 


Archbishop Scherr was thus driven forward from Rome, 
and reluctantly forced to take the final step. A pro 
test signed by forty-three Catholic professors against 
episcopal tyranny was naturally without effect. So also 
was an appeal with many thousands of signatures. 
Theological students in Munich diocese were now 
forbidden to attend his lectures ; and he was informed 
that although the Archbishop could not prevent his 
lecturing, yet he could only continue to do so in open 
opposition to his Bishop. This was followed a fortnight 
later by his formal excommunication, in which his 
biographer, Friedrich, was included. 1 

The exasperation at Munich is shown in a strongly 
worded protest 2 issued at Whitsuntide 1871, in which 
the signatories declare themselves confirmed in refusing 
the Vatican Decree by the duty, which neither Popes 
nor Bishops can dispute, of abiding in loyalty to the 
ancient faith even though an angel should teach them 
otherwise. It has been hitherto no doctrine of the 
Church, no part of Catholic faith, that every Christian 
possesses in the Pope an absolute overlord and master, 
to whom he is directly and immediately subjected, and 
whose decisions in faith and morals he is bound under 
penalty of eternal damnation to obey. It is notoriously 
no part of the teaching of the Church hitherto that the 
gift of Infallibility is entrusted to one individual. Peter 
speaks unmistakably to us in Scriptures through his 
deeds and his words and his letters; but all these breathe 
a totally different spirit from that of papal absolutism. 
The German minority Bishops show their bewilder 
ment in their Pastoral letters. For none of them can 
induce themselves to follow Manning and the Jesuits 
in interpreting the Decrees in their natural obvious 

1 I7th April 1871. See Declarations, p. 113. 

2 Von Schulte, Der Altkatholicismus y pp. 16-22. 


meaning. Moreover, the undersigned deplored that the 
Bishops are not ashamed to answer the conscientious 
outcry of their own dioceses with invectives against 
reason and learning. In previous centuries, when 
Bishops resorted to excluding a man from the Church, 
they did so on the ground of the novelty and untradi- 
tional character of his teaching. It was reserved for 
the present generation to see, what eighteen centuries 
have never beheld, a man condemned and excluded 
precisely because he clings to a doctrine which his 
fathers in the Church have taught him ; refuses to 
change his faith as a cloak might be exchanged. That 
an unjust excommunication can only injure its inflicters 
not the individual upon whom it is inflicted is the 
universal teaching of the Fathers. Such excommuni 
cations are as invalid and ineffective as they are unjust. 
They cannot deprive the believer of the means of grace, 
nor a priest of his right to dispense them. 

Such was the strain in which the Munich protest was 
written. Among the signatures which follow are those 
of Dollinger, Lord Acton, and Reinkens, afterwards 
Bishop of the Old Catholic Communion. The German 
Catholics, whom the Decree of Infallibility had excluded, 
gathered to form the Old Catholic Community. 

Dollinger confesses that he had no hope whatever 
that under the next or one of the next Popes any 
important or essential change would be made for the 
better, since the order of the Jesuits formed the soul and 
sovereign of the whole Roman Church. Formerly there 
were counterbalancing influences : powerful religious 
orders, full of vitality, correcting the tendencies of the 
followers of Loyola. But these had become either 
powerless shadows, or satellites of the Jesuit dominating 


"The tendency of events since 1870 was shown," said 
Dollinger, "in the solemn proclamation of Liguori as 
Doctor of the Church : - 

" A man whose false morals, perverse worship of the 
Virgin, constant use of the grossest fables and forgeries, 
make his writings a storehouse of errors and falsehoods. 
In the whole range of Church history I do not know 
a single example of such a terrible and pernicious con 

The public papers repeatedly announced Dr 
Dollinger s reconciliation with the Roman Communion. 
On one occasion he replied : 

" This is now the fourteenth time that my submission 
has been announced by Ultramontane papers ; and it 
will often occur again. Rest assured that I shall not 
dishonour my old age with a lie before God and man." 

Ten years after the Vatican Decision, Dollinger 
received a pathetic, imploring appeal from a lady of 
high social position, entreating him to rescue himself 
from the everlasting destruction which his exclusion 
would entail, and to have mercy on his own unhappy 

Dollinger s answer is memorable: 

" I am now in my eighty- first year, and was a public 
teacher of theology for forty-seven years, during which 
long period no censure, nor even a challenge that I 
should defend myself, or make a better explanation, 
has ever reached me from ecclesiastical dignitaries, 
either at home or abroad. I had never taught the 
new Articles of Faith advanced by Pius IX. and his 
Council. . . . Then came the fatal year, 1870. ... It 
was in vain that I begged them to let me remain 
by the faith and confession to which I had hitherto 
been faithful without blame and without contradiction. 
Yesterday still orthodox, I was to-day a heretic worthy 
of excommunication ; not because I had changed my 


teaching, but because others had considered it advisable 
to undertake the alteration, and to make opinions into 
Articles of Faith." 

But why not make a sacrifice of his intellect : 

" Because," says Dollinger, " if I did so in a question 
which is for the historical eye perfectly clear and un 
ambiguous, there would then be no longer for me any 
such thing as historical truth and certainty ; I should 
then have to suppose that my whole life long I had been 
in a world of dizzy illusion, and that in historical matters 
I am altogether incapable of distinguishing truth from 
fable and falsehood." 

But this would undermine his whole confidence in 
historic fact, and thereby shatter the foundation of his 
religion. For it is on historic facts that Christianity 
itself reposes. Prior to the historic problem of the 
Papacy is the historic problem of the Apostolic times. 
" I must first be convinced that the principal events 
narrated in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles 
are essentially true and inviolable." And to destroy 
confidence in historic judgment in one case is to ruin 
its validity in all others. 

Archbishop Scherr was succeeded in the diocese of 
Munich in 1878 by Von Steichele, a former pupil of 
Dollinger, and attached to him by feelings of the deepest 
veneration. Von Steichele made overtures for Dollinger s 
reconciliation with the Papacy. He wrote in 1879 a 
delightful letter : 

"With the thankfulness of a pupil to a venerable 
teacher ; with the respect of a disciple for the honoured 
bearer of the richest knowledge ; with the love of an 
anxious Bishop for the brother who unhappily is 
not yet at one with him in things of highest moment." 


Dollinger sent a frank but decided reply. Return 
was impossible. He said that his excommunication had 
been unjust, his treatment unexampled in the history 
of the Church. The mediaeval theory of excommunica 
tion rendered the individual liable to bodily harm. 
It would appear that this theory was not obsolete ; 
for the chief of the police had warned him to be on 
his guard, as they had knowledge that an act of violence 
was plotted against him. Friedrich says elsewhere that 
the house in which he and Dollinger lived, was specially 
protected by the police for a year after the excommuni 
cation. These dangers, said Dollinger, were long since 
past. But he could not enter again into relationship 
with the authors of these actions. He had long ago 
challenged his former colleagues to know how they 
reconciled acceptance of the Vatican expositions with 
their conscience and their knowledge of the facts : 

" The answer was always an evasive one, or an em 
barrassed shrug of the shoulder. They said that this 
was a question of detail, which the individual priest or 
layman did not need to enter into. Or they said that 
the very essence and merit of believing consisted 
precisely in giving oneself up blindly and implicitly 
to the powers that be, and in leaving it to them to 
settle any contradictions that might exist. I do not 
need to tell you what an impression deplorable subter 
fuges of this kind have made upon me." 

This was Dollinger s final attitude toward the Roman 
Communion up to the last moment of consciousness 
on earth. He never by any act of will deviated from 
testimony to the Church s traditional Faith, in which 
the theory of Papal Infallibility was not included. To 
the end of his days he held that this theory could not 
possibly be reconciled with the broad facts of Christian 



The new decree was profoundly uncongenial to the 
mind of Lord Acton. He had already expressed his 
sense that recent developments of papal authority were 
inconsistent with the earlier principles of Christendom, 
and disastrous alike to freedom of investigation, and 
to the real interests of the Church. Manning s theories 
on papal sovereignty were a trial to Lord Acton s 
historical intellect. Manning simply reproduced the 
mediaeval exaggerations of temporal power which had 
done incalculable mischief ever since Boniface VIII. 
endorsed them in his struggle with France. 

"You are certainly not too severe on Manning s 
elaborate absurdities," wrote Lord Acton ; l "I had 
no idea he had gone so far. ... It is impossible to 
exaggerate the danger of such doctrines as his. I 
wish you would take the line of Catholic indignation a 

While the Council sat, Lord Acton was in Rome, 
where popular opinion ascribed the Articles in the 
Augsburg Gazette to his instrumentality. "People 
do not venture to proceed against Acton," wrote 
Gregorovius ; 2 " but it is known that he writes, and that 
he pays highly for the materials that are supplied him." 

Archbishop Manning had positive knowledge that 
Lord Acton was in constant communication with Mr 
Gladstone, supplying him with information hostile to 
the Council ; " poisoning his mind," as Archbishop 
Manning phrases it, against Papal Infallibility and the 
Pope s friends and supporters. Lord Acton, as a friend 
and disciple of Dr Dollinger, had great influence with 

1 Lord Actcn and his Circle > pp. 21 1, 212, 215. 
2 Rom an Journals, p. 356. 


the German Bishops, who, for the most part belonged 
to the Opposition ; and was also on confidential terms 
with Mgr. Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, and with 
the Bishop of Orleans, and had not a little to do 
with bringing into closer union the Bishops of France 
and Germany. He was also active in furnishing the 
Opposition with Dr Dollinger and Professor Friedrich s 
historical criticisms of the Papacy. Lord Acton, as 
Manning knew well, 1 did more than any other man, 
except the Bishop of Orleans, in exciting public feel 
ing, especially in Germany and England, against the 
Vatican Council. 

When, therefore, the Vatican Decree was passed and 
the process of reducing objectors to uniformity began, 
it was scarcely probable that Lord Acton would be left 
unchallenged. Nor did he continue silent. He published 
a sketch of the history of the Vatican Council 2 which, 
while confined strictly to facts, must have been supremely 
distasteful to the victorious side. When he said that 
Pius was bound up with the Jesuits ; made them a 
channel for his influence and became himself an in 
strument of their designs ; when he gave illustrations 
of authority overriding history, and the unscrupulous 
suppression of uncongenial facts ; when he quoted at 
length Montalembert s emphatic letter on the trans 
formation of Catholic France into an anti- chamber 
of the Vatican he was recording what was calculated 
to advance the other side. Yet, of course, the registra 
tion of adverse facts is a different province from personal 

But Acton went so far as to describe the Infallibility 
doctrine as independent of reason or history. 

1 Purcell s Manning, ii. p. 434. 

2 Acton, Vatican Council. Munchen (1871). 


" The sentiment," he wrote, 1 " on which Infallibility 
is founded could not be reached by argument, the weapon 
of human reason ; but resided in conclusions transcend 
ing evidence, and was the inaccessible postulate rather 
than the demonstrable consequence of a system of re 
ligious faith." The opponents were, according to Acton, 
" baffled and perplexed by the serene vitality of a view 
which was impervious to proof. . . . 

" No appeal to revelation or tradition, to reason or 
conscience, appeared to have any bearing whatever on 
the issue." 

This persistent attempt to render authority inde- 
\ pendent of evidence was, if especially prominent in 
the Infallibility disputes, a deeply seated and long 
existing disease. It pervaded the theological school 
then dominant in Rome, but it had, according to Acton, 
exerted its baneful influence over the Roman Church 
for centuries. The Jesuit theologian, Petavius, in the 
seventeenth century supported existing authority at 
the expense of the past. 

" According to Petavius, the general belief of Catholics 
at a given time is the word of God, and of higher 
authority than all antiquity and all the Fathers. 
Scripture may be silent, and tradition contradictory, 
but the Church is independent of both. Any doctrine 
which Catholic divines commonly assert, without proof, 
to be revealed, must be taken as revealed. ... In this 
way, after Scripture had been subjugated, tradition 
itself was deposed ; and the constant belief of the past 
yielded to the general conviction of the present. And 
as antiquity had given way to universality, universality 
made way for authority." 

Thus in Acton s view the dominant school in the 
Roman Church were resolved that "authority must 
conquer history." He went so far as to say that : 

1 History of Freedom, pp. 512, 513. 


" Almost every writer who really served Catholicism 
fell sooner or later under the disgrace or the suspicion 
of Rome." Also that "the division between the Roman 
and the Catholic elements in the Church made it hope 
less to mediate between them." 

Acton s description of the Vatican Assembly itself 
could only leave one conclusion as to its methods 
and impartiality, on the reader s mind. He records 
how the Bishops on arriving in Rome, were " received 
with the assurance that nobody had dreamt of defining 
Infallibility, or that, if the idea had been entertained 
at all, it had been abandoned." He records the Pope s 
assurance that " he would sanction no proposition that 
could sow dissension among the Bishops." He asserts 
that the freedom of the Bishops was taken away by 
the regulations of the Bull Multiplier inter imposed 
upon them without their consent, and with refusal even 
to allow their protests to be uttered. He says that 
many Bishops were " bewildered and dispirited," by 
the character of these Regulations. He says : 

" It was certain that any real attempt that might be 
made to prevent the definition could be overwhelmed 
by the preponderance of those Bishops whom the 
modern constitution of the Church places in dependence 
on Rome." 

He reveals his sympathies in the strongest way by 
pouring out his moral indignation on the minority 
Bishops for their weakness. 

" They showed no sense of their mission to renovate 
Catholicism. . . . 

" They were content to leave things as they were, to 
gain nothing if they lost nothing, to renounce all pre 
mature striving for reform if they could succeed in 
avoiding a doctrine which they were as unwilling to 
discuss as to define." 


The contemplation of all this causes Acton to write : 

"The Church had less to fear from the violence of 
the majority than from the inertness of their opponents. 
No proclamation of false doctrines could be so great a 
disaster as the weakness of faith which would prove that 
the power of recovering the vital force of Catholicism 
was extinct in the Episcopate." 

And then Acton traces the gradual tightening of the 
cords as the feeble and unhappy minority are more 
and more overcome. The new Regulations determined 
that decrees should be carried by majority. They 
could not be accepted by the minority without virtual 
admission that the Pope must be infallible. For 

" If the act of a majority of Bishops in the Council, 
possibly not representing a majority in the Church, 
is infallible, it derives its Infallibility from the Pope." 
" But it was a point which Rome could not surrender 
without giving up its whole position. To wait for 
unanimity was to wait for ever, and to admit that a 
minority could prevent or nullify the dogmatic action 
of the Papacy was to renounce Infallibility. No alter 
native remained to the opposing Bishops but to break 
up the Council." 

This was exactly where their courage failed them 
They protested, but submitted. And here comes Acton s 
judgment on their submission : 

" They might conceivably contrive to bind and limit 
dogmatic Infallibility with conditions so stringent as 
to evade many of the objections taken from the 
examples of history ; but in requiring submission to 
Papal Decrees on matters not Articles of Faith, they 
were approving that of which they knew the character, 
they were confirming without let or question a power 
they saw in daily exercise, they were investing with 
new authority the existing Bulls, and giving unqualified 


sanction to the Inquisition and the Index, to the 
murder of heretics and the deposing of kings. They 
approved what they were called on to reform, and 
solemnly blessed with their lips what their hearts knew 
to be accursed." 

The effect of this moral feebleness on the Roman 
authorities was, says Acton, that 

" the Court of Rome became thenceforth reckless in 
its scorn of the opposition, and proceeded in the belief 
that there was no protest they would not forget, no 
principle they would not betray, rather than defy the 
Pope in his wrath. It was at once determined to bring 
on the discussion of Infallibility." 

Lord Acton s objections to the Infallibility school 
were clearly of a triple character. In relation to 
History : it betrayed a resolve to instate Authority 
independently of proof. It was the product of indiffer 
ence to fact. " The serene vitality of a view impervious 
to proof," could only shock and distress a profound 
veneration for the actual. To those who build on facts 
such disregard for evidence must appear as building 
without foundation. In relation to method : if the 
origin of the doctrine was insecure, no less unsatisfactory 
was the method by which it was decreed. Acton s 
description makes the Decree the product of cowardly 
weakness on the one side, and unscrupulous coercion 
on the other. The spiritual value of the result 
obtained might be measured by the immorality of 
the means employed. It could not, it did not, enlist 
his loyalty or command his reverence. In relation 
to results : plainly Acton did not believe that the 
limitless exaltation of Authority was beneficial, or that 
it could lead to anything but results disastrous to the 
real interests of the Church, The severity of his 


judgment on the minority, for investing with new 
Authority the Papal Decree, was born of a deep con 
viction that already, on countless occasions, that 
Authority had proved excessive, injurious to the 
advance of truth, and the freedom of the individual. 
It is probably quite correct that Acton s objections 
were more on the moral and political or social side 
than on the strictly theological. But his sharp dis 
tinction between the Catholic and the Roman elements 
within the Church is really a distinction in dogmatic 
principles. And nothing can exceed his loathing for 
principles commonly known as Ultramontane. Acton 
and Manning stand at the opposite poles in their 
anticipations of the results of the dogma of Infallibility. 
But Lord Acton went far beyond all this. He 
wrote a letter l to a German Bishop reproaching the 
minority with inconsistency in discontinuing their 
opposition after the Infallibility Decree was published. 
In this letter he gives the actual language of the leaders 
of the minority, and concludes 

" The Council is thus judged by the lips of its most 
able members. They describe it as a conspiracy against 
truth and rights. They declare that the new dogmas 
were neither taught by the Apostles nor believed of the 

This letter was described by the Dublin Review 2 as 
" an open and decisive revolt against the Church." 

Yet it does not appear that the writer was challenged 
to express his adhesion to the new Decree. But Lord 
Acton s letters during this period are yet to be pub 
lished. Abbot Gasquet 3 omits all the critical years from 

1 Scndschreibcn an einen Deutschen Bishof( September 1870). 

2 N.S. vol. xvi. (1871), p. 212. 

3 Lord Acton and his Circle, 


1869-1874. Lord Acton, however, did not ultimately 
escape unchallenged. He was not in Manning s 
Diocese or we may feel fairly certain that the Arch 
bishop of Westminster would have pounced upon him. 
Meantime Mr Gladstone argued that the Vatican 
Decrees involved political consequences adverse to 
modern freedom. 1 The Church s power to employ 
coercion was asserted by the Syllabus, and acknowledged 
by Newman. 2 Now that such consequences could be 
drawn from the Vatican Decrees Lord Acton did not 
dream of denying. 3 Gladstone s argument could not be 
met by denial. And, of course, the whole sympathies of 
Acton s mind were with Gladstone so far as repudiation 
of the use of coercive force in religion is concerned. 
Nothing in the world roused Acton s moral indignation 
more than Inquisition and Liguori s ethics. He admitted 
j with characteristic sincerity that " Gladstone had not 
darkened the dark side of the question." All he could 
answer was that it does not follow that inferences which 
can be drawn will actually be made. He held that 
" the Council did not so directly deal with these matters 
as to exclude a Catholic explanation." The Council had 
not so acted " that no authentic gloss or explanation 
could ever put those perilous consequences definitely 
out of the way." This was certainly a curious defence 
of an Ecumenical Decree. It does not exclude a 
Catholic explanation. But this was all he could say. 
He could not even say what that true explanation was ; 
for on that ground his own authorities might reject 
him. " I could not take my stand, for good or evil, as 
an interpreter of the Decrees, without risk of authori 
tative contradiction." This attitude, says Acton, "was 

1 Vaticanism^ p. 77. 2 Ibid. p. 77. 

3 Gasquet, Lord Acton and his Circle, p. 366. 


no attack on the Council, although it was an attack 
on Ultramontanism." l 

But Lord Acton proceeded to defend the Council in 
the Times newspaper 2 from Mr Gladstone s inferences. 

" I affirmed that the apprehension of civil danger 
from the Vatican Council overlooks the infinite subtlety 
and inconsistency with which men practically elude the 
yoke of official uniformity in matters of opinion." 

And, as an illustration of this infinite subtlety in 
eluding authority, he quoted the example of Archbishop 
Fenelon, who "while earning admiration for his humility 
under censure [by the Pope] had retained his former 
views unchanged." Fenelon wrote : 3 

" I accept this Brief . . . simply absolutely and 
without shadow of reserve. God forbid that I should 
ever be remembered except as a pastor who believed it 
his duty to be more docile than the humblest of his 
sheep, and who placed no limit to his submission." 

Three weeks later Fe"nelon wrote to a friend : 

" I acknowledge no uncertainty either as to the 
correctness of my opinions throughout or as to the 
orthodoxy of the doctrine which I have maintained. 
. . . Unless competent persons rouse themselves in 
Rome the faith is in great danger." 

It was no more than natural, after such public letters, 
that Lord Acton should be called in question by the 
authorities of his Communion. It was asserted in the 
Roman Church that he did not believe the Vatican 
Decrees. Manning wrote to enquire what construction 

1 Gasquet, Lord Acton and his Circle, p. 366. 
8 24th November 1874. * Pastoral (1699). 


he placed upon them in order that the minds of the 
multitude might be reassured. A curious and very 
instructive correspondence l ensued. Lord Acton took 
advice as to the answer he should give. 

" The great question is," he wrote privately to a friend, 
" whether I ought to say that I submit to the acts of this 
as of other Councils, without difficulty or examination 
(meaning that I feel no need of harmonising and recon 
ciling what the Church herself has not yet had time 
to reconcile and to harmonise), or ought not the word 
submit to be avoided, as easily misunderstood." 

After further reflection Lord Acton proposed to say : 

" I do not reject which is all the Council requires 
under its extreme sanctions. As the Bishops who are 
my guides have accepted the decrees, so have I. They 
are a law to me as much as those at Trent, not from 
any private interpretation, but from the authority from 
which they come. The difficulties about reconciling 
them with tradition, which seem so strong to others, do 
not disturb me a layman, whose business it is not to 
explain theological questions, and who leaves that to 
his betters. 2 

" Manning . . . says he must leave the thing in the 
hands of the Pope, as everybody tells him I don t believe 
the Vatican Council. He means, it seems to me, that 
he simply asks Rome to excommunicate me a thing 
really almost without example and incredible in the 
case of a man who has not attacked the Council, who 
declares that he has not, and that the Council is his law, 
though private interpretations are not, whose Diocesan 
has, after enquiry, pronounced him exempt from all 
anathema." 3 

Against Lord Acton no further action was taken. 

1 Lord Adon and his Circle^ pp. 359, 360, 364. 2 Ibid. p. 364. 

3 Ibid. p. 368. 


The disastrous effect of the excommunication of 
Dollinger may have made Authority cautious in the 
exercise of this deadly weapon. Acton indeed sub 
mitted ; but Manning s misgivings seem more than 
justified. It is difficult to define the sense in which 
Acton became a believer in the new Decree. " He 
remained all his life," says Bryce, 1 " a faithful member 
of the Roman Communion, while adhering to the views 
which he advocated in 1870." 

It is quite true that Acton was not an Anglican ; 
he was still less a Protestant. He never joined the 
old Catholic movement, and is said to have dissuaded 
his friends from taking that course. But it is certain 
that he was never an Ultramontane. The distinction 
he drew between Catholic and Roman elements in 
the Church helps to explain his own position. He 
was a Catholic as opposed to the modern Roman 

If, as Pius IX. asserted, Catholic and Ultramontane 
are synonymous, then Acton s position was precarious. 
But their identity is what he persistently and firmly 
denied. He considered Ultramontanism as an unhappy 
and mischievous influence perverting truths and ignor 
ing history, speculative in its origin, and injurious in 
its results. He was well aware, his historic insight made 
it clearer to him than to many, that the school he re 
sented was a long-standing disease ; that its presence 
could be traced for centuries, if in a less pronounced 
and virulent form than to-day. But the long-standing 
nature of the disease did not shake his faith in the 
certainty of a remedy, and a removal sooner or later. 
He did not, it has been well said, identify the long- 
lived with the eternal. 

Sooner or later then, Ultramontanism, according to 

1 Biographical Studies, pp. 385, 386. 


Acton s views, was destined to pass away. It was 
no more than a temporary, if protracted, disease from 
which the Church must at length recover. Mean 
while, therefore, he held to his post, accepting the 
present discomfiture in the hope of better days ; 
waiting until this tyranny be overpast. He had no 
thought of departure. The Roman Communion was 
the Church of his birth and of his devotional affinities. 
He spoke of it reverentially as "the Church whose 
communion is dearer to me than life." 1 He would 
never have left it of his own accord. But, while 
wholly identified with the ancient Catholic conceptions, 
he absolutely repudiated the principles of the Ultra 
montane. By what process he retained his place 
while Dollinger was exiled seems not altogether clear. 
Acton felt acutely the possibility that, like Dollinger, 
he also might be cast out. 

Whether wisdom or prudence or diplomacy refrained 
from him and let him alone, there at any rate he 
lived and died. But the legitimacy or consistency of his 
position was the theme of a fierce and bitter controversy 
in the Roman journals after he was dead. 

So the great struggle in the Roman Communion 
between the episcopal and the papal conceptions of 
Authority, the collective and the individual, came to an 
end. Every Bishop of the minority submitted. This 
is a magnificent tribute to the power of Rome. It 
held its defeated Episcopate in unbroken unity. Only 
the old Catholic movement created an independent 
community. But when the motives are considered 
which induced the minority to yield, the strongest 
principle appears to be the maintenance of external 
unity. The abler minds resisted, after the Decree 

1 Letter to the Times. 


was known, so long as resistance was possible. Only 
when the presence of threatened excommunication drew 
them to an ultimate decision, the Bishops submitted, 
with what grace they could, to a Decree which they 
dared no longer resist. But the submission is, even 
then, cautious, reluctant, and reserved. In some 
instances it is yielded in a tone of curtness or asperity. 
In other instances, with comments and explanations, 
in private letters, wholly inconsistent with genuine 
faith. It is difficult to find in a single minority sub 
mission the joyous devotion which is surely due to 
a heaven-sent revelation of eternal truth. They do 
not accept the doctrine as a blessed enlightenment, 
but rather as a heavy burden to which they are 
unwillingly obliged to coerce their priests. They do 
not appear like men whose intensity of conviction 
enables them to say : " It seemed good to the Holy 
Ghost and to us." They would infinitely sooner ask 
no questions, if Rome would only let them. They are 
driven to excommunicate others, much against their 
will, for continuing to hold what they themselves had 
taught them, and were, until recently, inwardly per 
suaded was true. It is a painful and unattractive sight. 
In the frankness of confidential utterances after the 
event they owned with manifest sincerity that they 
did not believe the Decision valid, nor the Doctrine 
part of the Historic Faith. But, being forced by 
Authority to choose between submission and excom 
munication, they mostly preferred submission. The 
choice is intelligible. They loved the Church. Taught 
to regard its limits as practically identical with those 
of the Kingdom of Heaven yet certain that history 
contradicted what they were now required to believe, 
they were placed in the terrible dilemma of loyalty 
to reason against religious interest, or to religious 


interest against their reason. The issue was solemn 
whichever side they chose. But the prior question 
which the alternative raises is this : " What is the 
spiritual value of an Absolute Authority which 
inflicted such an awful dilemma upon its own devoted 
sons ? " 



IT is essential to the completeness of our exposition 
that we should analyse the doctrine itself which the 
Vatican Council decreed. The Vatican affirmation 
is that, under certain circumstances, the Pope is in 
fallible, or divinely protected from error in his official 
utterances on faith and morals to the whole Church. 
We will omit for the present the limitations and 
confine our attention solely to the Council s statement 
that the Pope s Infallibility is "that with which God 
was pleased to endow His Church." Thus Papal In 
fallibility is considered co-extensive with the Church s 

But what is Infallibility? It does not imply the 
granting of a new revelation. It is concerned with 
the exposition of a revelation already given. It is 
not equivalent to Inspiration, such as the Apostles 
possessed. It is merely " assistance by which its 
possessor is not permitted to err whether in the use 
of the means for investigating revealed truth or in 
proposing truth for human acceptance." l It is, accord 
ing to Newman, 2 simply an external guardianship, 
keeping its recipient ofT from error : " as a man s 
guardian angel, without enabling him to walk, might, 

1 Hurter, Compendium Theol. Dogm. i. p. 283. 

2 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, p. 117. 


CHAP, xix.] ITS NATURE 341 

on a night journey, keep him from pitfalls in his way." 
It is a guardianship saving its recipient "from the 
effects of his inherent infirmities, from any chance of 
extravagance, or confusion of thought." 

Any serious study of Infallibility must realise that 
the question is only part of a vastly larger subject, 
namely, the relation of the human will to the Divine. 
To describe Infallibility as "an assistance by which 
the Church is not permitted to err, whether in the 
use of the means for investigating revealed truth, or 
in proposing truth to man s acceptance " l is to assume 
a theory of divine coercion which awakens some of 
the profoundest psychological and dogmatic problems. 
It has well been said that " two conditions are required 
for an authoritative decision : the use of natural 
means, and a special Providence directing that use. If 
the former condition be absent, the latter is simply 
impossible." 2 But what is constantly forgotten in dis 
cussions on Infallibility is this conditional nature of 
all divine assistance. It is constantly assumed that 
the divine assistance will overrule, even in the absence 
of compliance with what are acknowledged to be 
duties on the part of the recipient. There is an 
obvious simplicity, there seems an edifying piety, in 
saying that this endowment is an assistance by which 
the recipient is "not permitted to err." But this 
deliverance from error cannot be independent of the 
recipient s will, and irrespective of his receptivity. 

Suppose, for instance, Infallibility to be located in 
a Council. It cannot act independently of certain 
conditions. It might be thwarted by fear or external 
constraint. Nor are merely external conditions alone 
essential. There must be inward freedom to preserve 

1 Hurter, i. p. 283. 

2 Nineteenth Century (May 1901), p. 742. 


its own normal course. Many Roman Catholics com 
plained that the Vatican Council was so seriously 
hampered, by regulations imposed upon it from without, 
that conciliar freedom was thereby made impossible. 
The overruling of a large minority by force of numbers 
simply shook the faith of many devoted sons of the 
Roman Church. They experienced the greatest difficulty, 
almost insuperable, in crediting its Infallibility. Yet, 
from their point of view, the Council was legitimate 
in its inception, and in its constitution ecumenical. 
Now, if a Council, with such beginnings, can nevertheless 
suggest these misgivings to Roman minds, may not 
similar misgivings arise over a papal utterance ? 

Suppose then Infallibility located in a single individual : 
he must comply with certain conditions. Are those 
conditions purely external, concerned alone with 
outward formalities ? Or do they include moral 
qualities and inward state? What is the authority in 
revelation for the assertion that a divine assistance so 
completely overrules a personality that he is " not per 
mitted to err." The illustration of the guardian angel 
preventing a fall is an illustration of external coercion, 
in which the will of the guided has no share. He is 
simply upheld in spite of himself. Is this the case 
with the Pope in the exercise of his Infallibility? Is 
the Pope s capacity to discharge so awful a function 
absolutely independent of his moral and spiritual state ? 
Is there a suspension of the liability to self-will ? Does 
the personal equation go for nothing? Is it really 
credible that any other person placed where Pius was 
would have said the same? Do the antecedents, the 
temperament, the mental furniture, in no way affect 
the utterance? Grant as large a margin as we may 
to the action and control of this " Divine Assistance," 
yet still beyond that margin must be a residuum where 


the human individuality comes into play, and shares 
in producing the final result. Hence a possibility must 
always exist, and it cannot be evaded, that, in a given 
instance, notwithstanding compliance with external 
formalities, the inward essential conditions were not 
fulfilled ; and consequently the result was not infallible. 
Do what you will, it is impossible in human affairs to 
avoid this element of insecurity, unless the human 
instrument be reduced to a mere mechanism upon which 
the Spirit plays as it pleases. 


What then is the Infallibility of the Church? This 
is precisely what the Council assumes as known, and 
does not explain. The Infallibility of the Church has 
never been authoritatively defined. It has been treated, 
of course, by theologians, but never formulated by the 
Church. Hence the minority in the Vatican Council 
pleaded that this subject should first be discussed : as 
indeed the logical order appeared to demand. 

All doctrine on the Church s Infallibility will vary 
according as its basis is purely a priori and theoretical, 
or historical. These are the two methods which dis 
tinguish all Christian thinking. We may start from 
the ideal, and infer that this is what the Almighty 
must have created, or we may begin with the actual, 
and draw our principles from the facts. 

Now the prevalent method in modern Roman theology 
is the theoretical as contrasted with the critical and 
historical. This method is not confined to certain 
extremists. It saturates the theological writings through 
and through. Starting with an ideal of the divine 
purposes, it is assumed that the Almighty must have 


constituted the Church in a certain way; that He 
must have endowed it with certain prerogatives and 
certain authorities and certain safeguards and certain 
supremacies; because those prerogatives and so forth 
are, in the writer s ideal view, necessary to the Church s 
achievement of certain ends. Then with this ideal 
already in possession, controlling the imagination, and 
determining the mind what it is to discover, advance 
is made to the actual, to Scripture and to History; 
with the result that these are found to confirm anticipa 
tions not it is true without difficulties, nor without 
feats of agility to the bystanders simply amazing, but 
yet to the complete satisfaction of the writer s mind. 
Nevertheless, the result is blindness to historical reality. 
No one has expressed this better than F. Ryder writing 
against an extremist in 1867, but in words which 
accurately describes a conviction widely prevalent in 
the Roman obedience. 

" It is notorious that in some minds the craving for 
ideal completeness is so strong as to overpower from 
time to time their sense of truth, and under the influence 
of this craving, without any conscious dishonesty, they 
are unable to read either in the past or present world 
of experience anything but what, according to their 
preconceived notions, should be. Such minds, as we 
might expect, have a strong instinctive dislike for 
historical studies." 1 

If instead of theoretical inferences from an ideal, 
we take the critical and historic way, very different 
conclusions may be reached as to Infallibility. If the 
promises of Christ, " Lo, I am with you always," " He 
shall guide you into all truth," are interpreted in the 
absence of Roman preconceptions, it is evident that 

1 Ryder, Idealism in Theology, p. 5. 


they do not necessarily commit our Lord to the Ultra 
montane conclusions. They may mean, they appear 
to mean, something quite other than that. Indeed 
these Ultramontane conceptions appear to be not derived 
from but read into them. At any rate what Infallibility 
exists in Christendom should be ascertained from the 
facts of Christian history. An existence of well-nigh 
two thousand years must certainly yield a safer basis 
for inferences, as to the contents of the promises of 
Christ, than an & priori theory of things which seems 
to us ideal. 

The Infallibility of the Church is commonly asserted 
by Roman writers to be twofold. It is distinguished 
as active and passive : corresponding to the familiar 
division between the Church as teacher, and the Church 
as taught. Active Infallibility is the prerogative of 
teaching without liability to mislead. Passive Infalli 
bility is the advantage of being taught without liability 
to be misled. Thus for all practical purposes the Infalli 
bility of the Church would mean the Infallibility of 
the Episcopate. The laity being reduced to a position 
of mere receptivity, having no active share in the 
maintenance and perpetuation of Tradition. 

Whether this conception is philosophic or historical is 
alike open to serious doubt. In the first place, the Church 
is an organism, a totality, which cannot be, except in 
theory, severed into merely active and merely passive 
parts. After all, there is such a thing as the collective 
Christian consciousness the mind of the Church, which 
overrides all barriers of practical convenience, such as 
the distinction between teacher and taught. If history 
be regarded, it is impossible to doubt that the laity 
has been no mere passive recipient, but largely a con 
troller of forms of devotion ; and forms of devotion 
are, after all, expressions of the rule of faith. The 


control which the laity had exercised over doctrines 
and creeds and formulas of truth is historically 
indisputable. Instances are recorded when it is said 
that the heart of the people was truer than the lips 
of the priests. 


The Infallibility of the Episcopate has been variously 
asserted and denied by Roman theologians since the 
Vatican Decree. Schwane, 1 for instance, asserts that the 
Episcopate assembled in Council possesses no greater 
authority than when it is dispersed. Individually they 
are not infallible, nor are they so collectively. Hurter, 2 
on the contrary, maintains the opposite view. The 
Episcopate is the recipient of Infallibility. The Bishops 
are heirs to this Apostolic prerogative because they 
are the Apostles legitimate successors. By the consent 
of all antiquity, Bishops are successors of the Apostles. 
As St Jerome says : " Bishops occupy among us the 
Apostles place." Accordingly, Hurter maintains that 
the Episcopate is infallible not only when assembled 
in Council but also when dispersed ; if it teach any 
thing unanimously as of faith. 

This doctrine he bases first on the promises of Christ, 
which apply equally to the Episcopate in either con 
dition. Secondly, on the belief of Antiquity, which 
regarded a doctrine as heretical if conflicting with the 
unanimous consent of the dispersed Episcopate. Many 
heresies were condemned, without assembling an 
Ecumenical Council, simply by the unanimity of the 
Bishops. Thirdly, the doctrine is confirmed by the 
improbabilities which would follow the other view. 

1 Hist. Dogm. v. p. 461. 2 Compendium, i. p. 27iff. 


For unless the dispersed Episcopate be infallible it 
would follow that it has hardly ever exercised its 
prerogative, since Ecumenical Councils are very rare. 
Moreover, were it only infallible when assembled, its 
prerogative would depend for its exercise on permission 
from the secular powers ; which might, and actually did, 
prevent their assembling. Hurter, therefore, teaches 
the Infallibility of the Episcopate whether collected 
or dispersed. 

It certainly must be allowed that Hurter s view is 
far more helpful to the papal doctrine than Schwane s 
depreciation of the Episcopate. For, if the Episcopate 
possesses no Infallibility what becomes of that Infalli 
bility wherewith, according to the Vatican statement, 
Christ has endowed His Church, and with which the 
prerogative of the Pope is compared and equalised ? 
It is, of course, no function of ours to adjust conflicting 
Roman estimates of episcopal power. But it is of 
the greatest interest to all reflective Christian minds 
to compare the teachings of to-day with the concep 
tions of antiquity. 

The doctrine of the Infallibility of the Episcopate, 
when unanimous, means, if strictly analysed, that each 
particular Church is summed up and represented in 
its chief pastor, who voices the collective consciousness 
of his people, and bears witness to the Tradition which 
he has inherited and is transmitting. The testimony of 
the entire Episcopate when unanimous would naturally 
represent the Church s mind. The Infallibility of the 
Episcopate could in the nature of the case only exist 
on condition of their unanimity. It could not hold in 
conflicting testimonies to contrary traditions. Hence 
the ancient conviction that the dogmatic decisions of 
an Ecumenical Council must of necessity be morally 
unanimous, otherwise they could not claim ecumenicity. 


Few Roman writers of last century have enforced this 
more strongly than Dr Newman. After the Vatican 
Decree he wrote : 

" First, till better advised, nothing shall make me 
say that a mere majority in a Council, as opposed to 
a moral unanimity in itself, creates an obligation to 
receive its dogmatic decrees." 1 

Newman, however, lived to be informed that the 
notion of moral unanimity was a piece of Gallicanism. 2 

The prevalent Roman theory of to-day is that the 
decision in General Councils does not depend on the 
majority of votes, but always on that part which sides 
with the Pope. It has been considered possible that 
all the Bishops united in Council without the Pope 
might be deceived, and fall into erroneous doctrine. 
He would then exercise his function of strengthening 
his brethren in the faith. 

The Roman doctrine is that the Infallibility of Councils 
does not depend upon the subsequent consent and 
acceptance by the Church. Now many Councils and 
Assemblies of Bishops have been held in Christendom. 
Some are infallible, and some are not. How can we 
distinguish the Ecumenical Infallible Council from 
assemblies which do not possess this great prerogative ? 
Does it depend upon the presence of the entire 
Episcopate ? Manifestly not. Several of the Councils 
acknowledged as Ecumenical or Universal consisted 
of a comparatively small proportion of the entire 
Episcopate. To this and similar enquiries the modern 
Ultramontane returns the answer that the character 
of a Council depends neither on its numbers, nor its 
majorities, nor its acceptance by the Church ; but 
simply and solely on its endorsement by the Pope. 

1 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, p. 98. 2 Postscript, p. 151. 


Now, given the existing condition of Roman develop 
ments, the absolutism of their monarchical system, the 
practical utility of this answer is undeniable. But its 
assumptions are obvious. It assumes the identity of 
the Roman Communion and the Catholic Church. It 
excludes all the Oriental Churches. Beyond all this 
is its absolutely unhistoric character. It is impossible 
with regard for history to claim that the ecumenical 
character of the first four Councils rest on papal consent 
and approval. The ancient test of a Council s ecumenical 
and irreversible character was certainly acceptance by 
the entire Episcopate. The fragment of the Episcopate 
which happened to assemble in any particular place 
could not of itself give complete representation to the 
consciousness of the Universal Church. The endorse 
ment or approval of the Roman Bishop unquestionably 
added great weight ; but was certainly not regarded as 
a substitute for the authority which a Council acquired 
from universal endorsement by the entire Episcopate. 
Until this acceptance was secured, the ecumenical 
infallible character of a Council must, of necessity, 
remain uncertain. For the Supreme Council is the 
Episcopate. And until the entire Episcopate has given 
its assent, the Council has not become a supreme 
expression of the mind of Christendom. This, of 
course, is what the modern Ultramontanes would 
not admit. It would not agree with the modern con 
densation and embodiment of all authority in a single 
individual Bishop at Rome. But it is the doctrine of 
antiquity, and it is that maintained by all the Oriental 

The substitution of papal endorsement for episcopal 
unanimity as the test of an Ecumenical Council can 
only be termed a tremendous revolution in the con 
stitution of the Catholic Church. 



The Infallibility of the Pope is no mere isolated 
dogma, separable from a system without detriment to 
the remainder : it is the final conclusion and crown of 
a theory of absolute authority ; the completion of a 
whole process of centralisation of power in the hands 
and control of a monarchy. It is significant to note 
that the three theories which assign Infallibility to the 
Church, to the Episcopate, to the Pope, are respectively 
democratic, aristocratic, monarchical. The Roman 
instinct, the Imperial tendency, has shown itself in 
grasping, with an undeniable tenacity and grandeur of 
conception, the monarchical view. The whole drift of 
Roman development for centuries had been towards 
centralisation. Power after power became gradually 
appropriated and placed under the exclusive control of 
the central rule. Often this was done with the full 
consent, even at the instigation of the ruled. It was 
at times prompted by their loyalty and devotion. At 
other times it was reluctantly yielded to an authority 
which men had not the power to resist. Out of all this 
accumulation of prerogatives a speculative theory of 
primacy naturally grew. Texts were quoted in defence, 
but they are not really the basis : nor is it possible by 
any rigorous interpretation to derive the theory out of 
them. No mind which was a stranger to the historic 
Roman evolution could arrive at the Ultramontane 
conclusions. We may take exposition of the giving 
of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven as an example. 
And we quote it more especially because Hurter s 
compendium is the seminarist s guide par excellence. In 
its theories thousands of the Roman priesthood have 
been, and are being trained. The keys of the kingdom, 


says Hurter, signify authority ; full authority in the 
matter which the keys concern. The keys of a city, 
consigned to a victor, symbolise absolute control of 
what is therein. The keys of a house, entrusted to a 
servant by the master, make him the dispenser to all 
within the house. The keys bestowed on Peter signify 
the full power of jurisdiction over the Universal Church. 
For He who bestows them possesses all power in heaven 
and earth. And " whatsoever " signifies power supreme, 
independent, universal, unlimited. Now mankind may 
be bound in three respects : law, sin, and penalty. 
Consequently this "whatsoever" must be a promise of 
plenary power of three kinds : legislative, power to 
bind ; judicial, power in regard to sin ; coercive, power 
to punish. Now such a primacy as this, urges Hurter, 1 
not unnaturally, requires Infallibility. If the Roman 
Pontiff possesses authority it is in order to secure unity 
m the truth. If so, he ought to possess the means to~ 
that end. He ought to have the power to require not 
only external deference but internal assent to his teach 
ing. Unless he has this authority he cannot prevent 
disagreement. For where there is no obligation to 
assent there is permission to disagree. Moreover, he 
must have authority universal over every individual. 
Otherwise how can he maintain the Church in unity? 
Now to do all this he ought to be infallible. He cannot 
require internal assent to his teachings unless he is. He 
cannot discharge the functions which Hurter assigns 
him without it. He must possess an absolute final 
irreversible power to define and demand the submission 
of conscience, and this entirely independently of the 
Church s consent. 

So the mighty fabric becomes theoretically complete. 
The actual concentration of power at Rome requires to 

1 Hurter, i. p. 348. 


be justified. To justify it there must be added the 
further endowment of Infallibility. He ought to have 
it, therefore he has. Can anything better illustrate the 
craving after systematic completeness than this the mar 
vellous construction of an ideal of absolute authority, 
for which the attribute of Infallibility appears logi 
cally necessary, to make the stupendous system quite 
complete ? 

The relation of the Pope s Infallibility to that of the 
entire Episcopate has been left by the Vatican Decision 
in great confusion. It may, of course, be said that time 
has not yet elapsed sufficient to allow a proper readjust 
ment of various truths. It appears to be still acknow 
ledged that all antiquity is committed to belief in the 
Infallibility of the entire Episcopate, whether assembled 
or dispersed. It appears to be also affirmed that the 
Pope alone is infallible whatever the Bishops may think, 
If the Pope s authority can render the minority infallible, 
what becomes of the Infallibility of the entire Episcopate ? 

The question which Newman puts in the mouths of 
the Irish Bishops of 1826 is greatly to the point: 

" How," they would ask, " can it ever come to pass 
that a majority of our order should find it their duty 
to relinquish their prime prerogative, and to make 
the Church take the shape of a pure monarchy?" 1 

The real effect of the Vatican Decree upon the entire 
Episcopate is to deprive them of their prime prerogative. 
The Collective Episcopate is not for the modern Roman 
the ultimate voice of the Church. But for the ancients, 
for the contemporaries of St Vincent of Lerins, for 
instance, this is exactly what it was. The fierceness of 
the struggle in the Vatican was due to a consciousness 
that it was a struggle for existence between two 
1 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, p, 13. 


antagonistic conceptions of ecclesiastical authority the 
episcopal and the papal. The victory of absolute 
monarchy has reduced the Episcopate to a shadow of 
its primitive self. The entire Episcopate of the Roman 
obedience may indeed now be assembled as listeners to 
the one infallible voice ; but their prime prerogative 
has been transferred to another, and lost to themselves. 
The Vatican Decree indeed maintains the paradox 
that exclusive papal authority enhances that of the 
Bishops ; and, without conscious irony, appeals to the 
language of Gregory the Great : " Then am I truly 
honoured when others are not denied the honour due 
to them." But Gregory said this when repudiating 
a title which would have exalted him above his fellow 
Bishops. Pius IX. repeated it precisely when assert 
ing a prerogative which exalts him to a height of 
unapproachable isolation. Henceforth the submissive 
Episcopate will accept what the lonely voice affirms. 
They will add to his Infallibility the lustre of their 
deference and obedience. But they will add nothing 
whatever to the intrinsic character of his decision. 
For, according to the new Decree, he is infallible 
independently of the Bishops and in spite of them. 
They may add, as it has been admirably said, a certain 
pomp and solemnity to the papal definitions, but they 
can in no wise affect their validity. " They are but 
as the assistants at High Mass, who contribute in no 
way to the essence of the sacrifice or sacrament." x 

When Papal Infallibility is considered in relation to 
the Church at large it is obvious that it presents a 
wholly different object for their contemplation. In 
fallibility viewed as residing in an entire Community, or 
as expressed by the entire Episcopate of the Catholic 
Church, makes an utterly different impression on the 

1 Lord Halifax, Nineteenth Century (May 1901), p. 741. 



believing mind. There is a certain vagueness, an almost 
impersonal character, in a distributed Infallibility, quite 
different from that embodied in a single individual. 
This has been admirably expressed by Father Ryder 
in a passage, which although published three years 
before the Vatican Council, has not lost its force and 

" Theologians," wrote Father Ryder, 1 " would not be 
anxious to add the same qualifications when speaking 
of the Church s Infallibility" [i.e., as when speaking of 
that of the Pope] " for the obvious reason that though 
as Ultramontanes they might hold that as regards pro 
nouncements de fide, the Pope was on an equality with 
the Church in Council, they had no idea of denying 
that the Church possesses an Infallibility, not merely 
when she puts on her robes of prophecy but inherent 
in her very vital action, which the Pope by himself 
does not ; that as Perrone says . . . clearly speaking 
of the Church dispersed, she is our infallible guide viva 
voce et praxiy which the Pope is not ; that the human 
authority of the Church, founded on numbers, holiness, 
wisdom, etc., being infinitely greater than the human 
authority of a Pope, who need be neither wise nor holy ; 
the Church might settle without provoking doubt, and 
still less opposition, a number of border questions, 
which the Pope could not. The Ultramontane 
theologians had narrowed the base, so to speak, of 
ecclesiastical authority ; they had made it centre in an 
individual, subject to numberless accidents of individual 
temper and circumstance ; and therefore it was of vital 
importance that they should distinguish sharply the 
Divine from the human element, the objects as to 
which they claimed for the Pope certain Infallibility, 
from those as to which they could not prove that 
he was not fallible. They had to meet numberless his 
torical objections, plausible at least, grounded upon 
the apparent mispronouncements of Popes in materid 

] Idealism in Theology. 


eij and they dared not undertake the defence of more 
than it was necessary for their position to defend, or 
than they could defend satisfactorily." 1 

This passage draws out with remarkable force the 
distinction between the Infallibility of an institution 
and that of an individual. It raises the question 
whether the two can ever really be entirely identical in 
scope. It therefore suggests that uncertainties attend 
upon the Vatican statement of their equivalency. Can 
the Infallibility of a world-wide Communion be the same 
as that embodied in a single individual? Certainly 
in any case the impression created upon the devout 
by the one cannot be the same as that created by the 
other. Men will inevitably expect and demand from 
an individual Infallibility what they will never dream 
of acquiring from a collective. 

1 Idealism in Theology , p. 31. 



NEARLY forty years have elapsed since the recognition 
of the Infallibility of the head of that vast Communion. 
The dogma was pushed through admittedly to enable 
authority to meet by the rapidity of its decisions the 
speed of modern life. Authority, however, with admirable 
discretion, has not once availed itself of its newly decreed 
prerogative within the last fifty years. Since Pius IX. 
expired, authority has spoken many times ; but never 
once on the levels of unalterable decree. Certainly this 
development of history is very different from the future, 
as the advocates of 1870 pictured it. The practical 
utility of the new Decree has been, if any, purely 
retrospective, historic. It applies, according to the 
Roman theologians, to utterances prior to that decision, 
not since. What the future may produce it is impossible 
to say. Whether a long series of supreme irreversible 
pronouncements are yet to issue, or whether the supreme 
prerogative will be kept in abeyance is a speculative 
enquiry of the greatest interest. 

It has been the function of Roman writers, since the 
passing of the Vatican Decree, to apply the definition 
as a test to the papal utterances of nineteen hundred 
years, in order to ascertain which of those utterances 
comply with its requirements, which of those are 



infallible, and which are not. The prerogative must, 
of course, if true to-day be true of all the Christian 
centuries. Infallibility must be co-extensive with the 
existence of the Papacy. Consequently the papal 
utterances of all history must be sifted and classified 
in accordance with the Vatican Definition. It remains 
therefore for us to ascertain from Roman writers the 
outcome of their research, and to learn from them upon 
what precise occasions they consider that a Pope has 
complied with the conditions necessary to give his 
pronouncement this supreme unalterable authority. 


The conditions required to make a papal utterance 
infallible are variously described. Bishop Fessler, who 
as Secretary of the Vatican Council, may be presumed, 
as being the Pope s selection, to have understood the 
papal mind, and whose position indisputably afforded 
him peculiar, if not unique, advantages, has laid it down 
that the tests of an infallible papal utterance are two. 
The first is that the subject-matter must be a doctrine 
of faith or morals; the second, that the Pope must 
express his intention, by virtue of his supreme teaching 
power, of declaring this particular doctrine a component 
part of the truth necessary to salvation revealed by 
God, and as such to be held by the whole Church. This 
was Secretary Fessler s declaration l almost immediately 
after the Decision, and published expressly to reassure 
and conciliate the alarmed and offended. 

More usually in recent Roman theological works the 
conditions are somewhat more elaborately analysed as 
being four in number. 

1 Fessler, True and false Infallibility % p. 51. 


1. First, as concerns the utterer. He must speak 
as Pope, and not as a theologian. That is he must 
exercise his supreme authority over Christians. 

2. Secondly, as to the substance of the utterance. It 
must be a doctrine of faith or morals. 

3. Thirdly, concerning the form of the utterance. It 
must not be merely advice or warning, but dogmatic 
definition. It must definitely intend to terminate a 
controversy, and to pronounce a final sentence upon it. 

4. Finally, as to the recipients. While it need not 
necessarily be addressed to all believers, and may indeed 
be directed to a single individual, yet it must be virtually 
intended for every member of the Universal Church ; 
because it is defining something essential to be believed. 

These four restrictions which appear to be generally 
acknowledged more or less by Roman writers, are 
obviously very powerful sifters of papal decrees. They 
exclude wholesale entire classes of papal utterances 
from possessing any sort of claim to the supreme 

Thus, for example, one theologian says : 

" Neither in conversation, nor in discussion, nor in 
interpreting Scripture or the Fathers, nor in consulting, 
nor in giving his reasons for the point which he has 
defined, nor in answering letters, nor in private delibera 
tions, supposing he is setting forth his own opinion, is 
the Pope infallible." l 

Fessler himself excludes from the range of Infallibility : 
papal actions in general, for actions are not utterances ; 
all that the Popes have said in daily life ; books of 
which they may be the authors ; ordinary letters ; 
utterances of Popes either to individuals or to the whole 
Church, even in their solemn rescripts, made by virtue 

1 Billuart, ii. p. no. 


of their supreme power of jurisdiction in issuing dis 
ciplinary laws or judicial decrees. None of these, 
according to Bishop Fessler, are dogmatic papal 
definitions or utterances of infallible authority. 1 

Newman appears to have thought that Fessler s 
tendency was to underrate the Vatican Decree. 

" Theological language," .wrote Newman, " like legal, 
is scientific, and cannot be understood without the 
knowledge of long precedent and tradition, nor without 
the comments of theologians. Such comments time 
alone can give us. Even now Bishop Fessler has toned 
down the newspaper interpretations (Catholic and 
Protestant) of the words of the Council, without any 
hint from the Council itself to sanction him in 
doing so." 2 

Newman, however, did not apparently consider 
Fessler s statements just quoted as a case of under 
estimation, for in the following year he himself gave 
a similar restriction of the range of Infallibility. 

" Even when the Pope is in the Cathedra Petri, his 
words do not necessarily proceed from his Infallibility. 
He has no wider prerogative than a Council, and of a 
Council Perrone says : Councils are not infallible in 
the reasons by which they are led, or on which they 
rely in making their definition, nor in matters which 
relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have 
no necessary connection with dogma. 

" Supposing a Pope has quoted the so-called works 
of the Areopagite as if really genuine, there is no call on 
us to believe him ; nor, again, when he condemned 
Galileo s Copernicanism, unless the earth s immobility 
has a necessary connection with some dogmatic truth, 
which the present bearing of the Holy See towards that 
philosophy virtually denies." s 

1 Fessler, p. 65. 2 Letter in 1874. Life of De Lisle, ii. p. 42, 
3 Letter to Duke of Norfolk, pp. 115, 116. 


"And again his Infallibility is not called into 
exercise unless he speaks to the whole world ; for if 
his precepts, in order to be dogmatic, must enjoin 
what is necessary to salvation, they must be neces 
sary for all men. Accordingly . . . orders to particular 
countries or classes of men have no claim to be the 
utterances of his Infallibility." 1 

This treatment of the Vatican Decree is an exercise 
of what Newman calls " the principle of minimising," 
which he considers " so necessary for a wise and cautious 
theology." 2 

A still further condition is introduced by Newman 
to qualify the character of papal decisions. There is 
the doctrine of intention. The Pope, urges Newman, 

" could not fulfil the above conditions of an ex cathedra 
utterance if he did not actually mean to fulfil them. . . . 
What is the worth of a signature if a man does not con 
sider what he is signing ? The Pope cannot address his 
people East and West, North and South, without mean 
ing it ; ... nor can he exert his apostolical authority 
without knowing that he is doing so ; nor can he draw 
up a form of words and use care, and make an effort 
in doing so accurately, without intention to do so." 

Newman himself applied this principle of intention 
to the case of Honorius. 

" And therefore no words of Honorius proceeded 
from his prerogative of infallible teaching, which were 
not accompanied with the intention of exercising that 
prerogative." 3 

That, of course, must apply to every individual for 
whom the infallible prerogative is claimed. The 

1 Newman, Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 120. 

2 Ibid. p. 120. 
8 Ibid. p. 1 08. 


classification of papal utterances is accordingly involved 
in the doctrine of intention. It will be necessary in 
every case to ascertain what the Pope s intentions were. 
Now of all intricate and desperately difficult problems 
none surpass the doctrine of intention. No wonder 
then if there will be discordant verdicts among the 
theologians, and a large element of insecurity. 


Following upon this analysis of the theoretical con 
ditions requisite for infallible utterances comes the 
practical enquiry, to what particular papal decrees do 
these conditions really apply? Upon what precise 
occasions did the Pope bestow upon the Church the 
advantages of his Infallibility? This is a question 
upon which theologians are much more reticent. They 
deal at considerable length with the necessary con 
ditions which such an utterance would require, but 
many among them refrain from all practical application. 
They do not indicate which among the immense 
collections of papal documents really possesses this 
supreme distinction. Newman, indeed, says that the 
Pope "has for centuries upon centuries had and used 
that authority which the Definition now declares ever 
to have belonged to him." x According to this assertion 
the Pope has not only possessed this power, but " used 
it." The implication appears to be that since he has 
possessed it for centuries upon centuries he has used 
it frequently. Newman, however, quotes with approval 
the statement that " the Papal Infallibility is com 
paratively seldom brought into action." 2 Indeed, he 
himself observes : 

1 Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 128. 8 Ibid. p. 125. 


" Utterances which must be received as coming from 
an Infallible Voice are not made every day, indeed 
they are very rare ; and those which are by some 
persons affirmed or assumed to be such, do not always 
turn out what they are said to be." l 

Fessler again speaks of "the form . . . which the 
Pope usually adopts when he delivers a solemn definition 
de fide 2 And yet the result of his application of the 
tests of an infallible utterance is that he "finds only 
a few." 3 

To be still more precise. There is no unanimity as 
to occasions when an infallible decree was given. Many 
writers on Infallibility give no list at all. Those who 
attempt it differ widely, but agree in regarding them 
as excessively few. The Secretary of the Vatican 
Council tells us that he found only a few, but he did 
not tell us which they are. This is perfectly intelligible. 
He wrote in the same year in which the Decree was 
made, and certainly there had been no time to investigate 
or apply the tests with any assurance of accuracy ; and 
it was most prudent and commendable not to attempt 
the dangerous task of committing himself to a definite 
list which might sooner or later have been overthrown. 
As Newman said : " Those which are by some persons 
affirmed or assumed to be such, do not always turn 
out what they are said to be." More recent writers 
have felt themselves justified by lapse of time in 
indicating which the infallible utterances are. Whether 
on Roman principles the time has really come for 
indicating them with any confidence may be open to 
question. The varieties in the lists would seem to 
suggest a negative. They appear to vary from eight 

1 Letter to Duke of Norfolk, p. 81. 
2 Fessler, p. 92. 3 Ibid. p. 53. 


instances down to one. Of course the compilers of 
the lists may contend that their researches are not 
yet completed. The investigation of utterances extend 
ing over well-nigh two thousand years may well require 
considerable time. The judgment may be regarded 
as still in suspense. But so far as lists are given us 
they vary within the limits already stated. 

Cardinal Franzelin, writing in 1875, gives some 
examples of utterances whose Infallibility he regards 
as certain. They are four in number. 

1. The Dogmatic Constitutions of the Council of 
Constance against Wiclif and Hus, confirmed by 
Martin V. 

2. The Constitution exsurge of Leo X. against 

3. The Constitution of Clement XI. against the 
Jansenists the Bull Unigenitus. 

4. The Constitution Auctorem Fidei of Pius VI. 
against the Synod of Pistoia ; wherein many pre 
positions are condemned with various degrees of 

Franzelin by no means limits Infallibility to these 
four utterances. But these are all that he gives as 
illustrations of its exercise. And of these he says with 
perfect confidence : " It is not lawful for any Catholic 
to deny that these are infallible definitions." 1 

A more recent writer, Lucien Choupin, 2 repeats 
Franzelin s list, and gives four other utterances in 
addition : 

1. The Decree of the Immaculate Conception. 

2. The Dogma of Papal Infallibility. 

Pius IX. is affirmed to have infallibly decreed his 
own Infallibility. 

1 Franzelin, De Traditione, p. 123. 

2 Vakur des Decisions Doctrinales et Disdplinaires du Saint-Silgt (1908). 


It is noteworthy that Choupin s two chief instances 
belong to the pontificate of Pius IX. Historical research 
enables the same writer to add two more. 

3. The condemnation of the five propositions of 
Jansen by Innocent X. in 1653. 

4. The Constitution of Benedict XII. in 1336. 

This last affirms that departed saints who need no 
further cleansing possess an immediate intuitive vision 
of the divine nature. 1 

To these many theologians, says Choupin, add the 
Encyclical Quanta Cura of Pius IX. in 1864. 

On the other hand, Carson in his Reunion Essays 
says : 

" These four conditions so narrow the extent of the 
Petrine prerogative that it is difficult to point with 
certainty to more than one, or at most two, papal 
pronouncements, and declare them, with the consent 
of all, to be infallible. 

" The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, defining the Immaculate 
Conception, may be considered, as we have seen, to 
be a definition of doctrine about whose Infallibility 
there cannot well be any question. The tome of Pope 
Leo the Great on the Incarnation, sent by him to 
the Council of Chalcedon, and accepted by the assembled 
fathers as the echo of Peter s voice, may perhaps be 
placed on the same footing. Beyond these two ecu 
menical utterances on points of doctrine, we cannot 
assert with any assurance that the prerogative of Papal 
Infallibility has been exercised from the day of Pente 
cost to the present time." 2 

Certainly if the intrinsic value of a document be 
any witness to its Infallibility no papal utterance has 
better claim to be an instance of that stupendous 
prerogative than the famous letter of Leo the Great 

1 Denzinger, Encheiridior, 456. 2 Carson s Reunion Essays, p. 91. 


to Flavian. But yet some theologians omit it from 
their list of Infallibility, and here a writer who inserts 
it as one of two can only do so with a hesitating 
" perhaps." Remembering the theological defences of 
Leo s letter we can see the reason for this uncertainty. 
Theologians have felt themselves constrained by the 
historic facts to admit that the Council of Chalcedon 
examined the contents of Leo s letter, and, that having 
satisfied themselves of its character, they then proceeded 
to endorse it, and to declare that Peter spoke by Leo. 
But this procedure is not thinkable in the case of an 
infallible document. Accordingly it was supposed that 
Leo never meant to speak infallibly, but only to suggest 
the lines upon which the Council should proceed. But 
this defence removed the letter from the region of 
inerrable authority. Hence the most that could be 
said about it was a mere perhaps. 

The question has to be faced, What authority do these 
lists of infallible utterances possess ? They possess the 
authority of the various theologians who have compiled 
them. But they possess no more than that authority. 
No infallible list of infallible utterances has yet appeared. 
And surely whatever theories men may invent, it must 
still be true that the only final way to determine whether 
a papal utterance be infallible is whether it has secured 
the consent of the Church. 

It is, of course, acknowledged by Roman writers, 
that after a careful application of the four tests it may 
still be disputed, and still remain uncertain whether 
the particular utterance is or is not a case of Infallibility. 
In this event the rule must be that, so long as any 
uncertainty exists, after serious enquiry, there is no 
infallible decision. 1 Fessler, however, adds that where 
uncertainty remains, the subordinate authorities will 

1 Hurter, i. p. 407. 


ask the highest authority what his intention was in 
such an utterance, If the utterer expires before answer 
ing, Fessler does not inform us what the enquirer is 
to do. Is a subsequent Pope an infallible judge of 
his predecessor s intentions? This we are not told. 
Fessler s translator, however, adds a remark of con 
siderable importance. 

" Of course Bishop Fessler is here understood as 
meaning that this fresh explanation of the definition 
must be provided with all the marks which are necessary 
to prove the presence of a real definition." 


Our study of the subject may be closed with a few 

What impresses us perhaps chiefly is the meagreness 
of the result. Upon this point Newman observed : 

" It has been objected to the explanation I have 
given ... of the nature and range of the Pope s Infalli 
bility as now a dogma of the Church, that it was a 
lame and impotent conclusion of the Council, if so much 
effort was employed as is involved in the convocation 
and sitting of an Ecumenical Council in order to do 
so little. True if it were called to do what it did and 
no more ; but that such was its aim is a mere assumption. 
In the first place it can hardly be doubted that there 
were those in the Council who were desirous of a 
stronger definition ; and the definition actually made, as 
being moderate, is so far the victory of those many 
bishops who considered any definition on the subject 
inopportune. And it was no slight point of the pro 
ceedings in the Council, if a definition was to be, to 
have effected a moderate definition. But the true 
answer to the objection is that which is given by Bishop 
Ullathorne. The question of the Pope s Infallibility 

xx.] CONCLUSION 367 

was not one of the objects professed in condemning the 
Council ; and the Council is not yet ended." l 

The moderate character of the Definition which 
Newman notes is indeed conspicuous, when compared 
with the extravagant statements of Manning and Ward, 
of Veuillot and the Univers. 

An Infallibility, whose range is possibly limited to 
one solitary utterance in nineteen hundred years, is 
very different from the ideal of perpetual irreversible 
decisions of almost daily occurrence as described by 
Ward. Very different also from rapid termination of 
controversies which Manning considered so necessary 
to our progressive age. And there is reason to believe 
that the decision, although at first accepted by the 
Extremists with the wildest joy, was on maturer 
reflection viewed with considerable disappointment. 

But this moderation has recently been viewed as a sign 
of truth. Certainly Manning would never have argued 
that it was. A via media between two extremes, upheld 
as ideal, would have been, indeed it was, Manning s 

And if the Vatican Decree is moderate relatively to 
a school of extravagance, it is no less stupendous 
relatively to a school of antiquity. Judged by the 
conceptions of St Vincent of Lerins the dogma is not 
moderate, it is most extreme. If some who anticipated 
and feared something much more pronounced acquiesced 
in the actual dogma with comparative relief, a very 
different estimate will be formed by those whose 
standard of moderation is the doctrine of antiquity. 

If the total advantage hitherto reaped from Papal 
Infallibility be compared with that which the Church 
has gained from its Ecumenical Councils, the balance 

1 Newman s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, p. 154. 


is heavily on the side of the more ancient method 
of ascertaining and formulating Christian tradition. 
Whatever the solitary Infallible Voice may pronounce 
in the future, it has done exceedingly little in the past, 
even on Roman estimates. Those who consider the 
Immaculate Conception the only instance of an irre 
versible papal decision can scarcely deny that no com 
parison exists between this and the work of the Council 
of Nicaea. This is, of course, no argument against its 
truth. It is not for a moment produced with that 
design. But it is an argument against the value of 
numerous pretexts which instigated many of the most 
influential personages who helped to push this doctrine 
through. It shows that they were controlled by 
totally erroneous conceptions. It shows much more 
than this. The familiar controversial statements that 
the early Popes could not have spoken as they did, 
had they not been conscious that they possessed Infalli 
bility, and a right accordingly to demand unconditional 
interior submission, and intellectual assent, are shown 
by Roman interpretation of the Vatican Dogma to be 
absolutely valueless. And all this shows that a pro 
found confusion has existed in Roman minds between 
Authority and Infallibility. If this distinction had been 
sharply realised, many of the arguments by which the 
doctrine was unsupported could never have been 

The meagreness of the issue is in curious contrast 
with the magnitude of the battle, and the tremendous 
character of the affirmation. The question can hardly 
be evaded, Was it really in the Church s interest to 
impose belief in a prerogative whose exercise is 
admittedly so uncertain? Is it permissible to be a 
Roman Catholic while affirming that Papal Infallibility 
has never yet been exercised? If it is, Where is the 

xx.] CONCLUSION 369 

dogmatic gain ? If it is not, Where are the indisputable 
decisions? And what is its practical utility? Its 
strongest advocates, as Manning, so Roman writers 
themselves affirm, viewed the subject rather as states 
men than as theologians. They upheld it, not so 
much for theoretic completeness, as because it would 
strengthen the Church s resources, and enable it the 
better to meet the age. And yet the prerogative has 
never since been utilised. 

The practical effect so far has been to alienate more 
grievously than ever the separated Churches of the 
East. Was this in the real interests of Christendom ? 
It may be that, somewhat exhausted by this terrific 
strife, authority is recruiting itself, and will some day 
utilise its new prerogative with tremendous results ; 
that it is meanwhile treasuring up its new resources 
against a day of need. But so far as the historic 
development has hitherto advanced, it is a theoretic 
rather than a practical victory. It possesses all the 
intellectual problems of a new, precarious, and bewilder 
ing dogma, without the practical gains of a prerogative 
manifestly and constantly utilised in the service of 

2 A 


ACTON, Lord, 70, 117 and sqq., 

326 and sqq. 
Agatho, 34, 38, 40, 42 
Alexander V., 59, 60 
Alzog, 315 
American Presbyterians, attitude 

of, 222 

Anglican Church, attitude of, 223 
Antonelli, Cardinal, 159, 163 and 

sqq., 190, 249, 254, 259, 292, 
A priori and & posteriori methods, 

basis of Papal Infallibility, 

351 and sqq, 
Aquinas, St Thomas, 30, 51 and 

Articles (Four) of 1682, 89 and 

sqq-, 93 

Augustine. St, 17, 18, 19, 20, 173, 

Authority in the Church, mon 
archical theory of, 72, 350 and 
sqq. ; two theories of, 64, 66, 

Benedict XIII., claims to be above 

appeal, 57 
Bergier s Theological Dictionary, 


Bertin, 81 

Bona, Cardinal, 36 

Bossuet, 8, 20 and sqq., 26, 28, 29, 
38 and sqq., 53, 57, 62 and 
sqq-> 70, 73> 85 and sqq. His 
sermon on Unity, 86 and sqq. ; 
Defence of the Declaration, 93 
and sqq. ; Exposition, 96, 107 

Botalla, 12, 19 

Butler, Charles, loo, 101 

CATHERINE of Sienna, 56 
Cecconi, 185, 186, 190, 197, 277 
Chrismann, 201 
Church. See Authority, Infallibility 

of the Church, Episcopate, 

Civilta Cattolica, the, 164, 165, 

169, 184 
Clement VII., 56 and sqq. 

269, 288 ; seat of Authority, the i XI., 92, 93 

Church, 81, 83, 94, 95, 108, j Clifford, Bishop, 227, 245, 271 

109, 156, 173, 192 and sqq., j Lord, IO2 

206, 269, 288, 315, 346. See Commission of Suggestions, 251 

also Infallibility of Church, 
Episcopate, Vincent of Lerins. 

BAINE S Defence, 101 

Baronius, 28, 37, 60 

Barral, 8 

Basle, Council of, alluded to by 

Bossuet, 95 
Bellarmine, 7, 9, 12, 18, 28, 29, 

38 and sqq., 60 and sqq. , 72 

and sqq., 168, 263 

and sqq. 
Constance, Council of, 60, 61 ; 

alluded to by Bertin, 81 ; by 

Richer, 83 ; by Bossuet, 91, 95 ; 

by Darboy, 265 

Constitution on Procedure, 230 
Council, 28-31, 33-40, 42, 45, 59- 

66, 74, 77, 83, 95, 348 and sqq. ; 

authority of, 58, 74 
Cyprian, St, 14 and sqq. 
Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria, 

32-34, 43 




DARBOY, Archbishop, 157 and 
sqq., 187, 265 and sqq. t 271, 
292 and sqq. 
Dam, Count, 249, 250 
Dechamps, Archbishop, 165 
Defence of the Declaration , 93, 


Delahogue, 107 
Development, theory of, 287 ; 

development and immutability 

of the Faith, 24 and sqq., 205 
Dieringer, 191 
Dollinger, 8, 188 and sqq., 209, 

210, 232 and sqq, , 316 and sqq. 
Dupanloup, Bishop, 154 and sqq., 

162 and sqq., 169 and sqq., 

271, 272, 295 


Maistre s depreciation of, 148 

and sqq. 

Ecumenicity, test of, 348 and sqq. 
Episcopate, 15, 28, 29, 31, 50, 64, 

66, 173, 244, 346 and sqq. ; 

Bossuet on, 87, 95 
Errington, Bishop, 104, 105 
Eugenius IV., alluded to by Bossuet, 


FAITH, nature of, 4 
Faith of Catholics, the, 106 
Fenelon, theory on temporal and 

spiritual power, 49 
Fessler, 277 and sqq., 289, 357 

and sqq., 362, 365 
Flavian, Leo s letter to, 28, 29 
Florence, Council of, 83 
Franzelin., 25 
Friedrich, 210 and sqq., 318, 321 

GALILEO, 180, 359 

Gallicanism, 134, 146, 157 

Gallitzin, no 

Gasquet, Abbot, 117 

Gelasius, 21, 22 

German Protestants, attitude of, 221 

Gerson, Chancellor, 58, 73 

Gosselin, 49, 50 

Gratry, 8, 13, 19, 20, 54, 177, 179. 

296 and sqq. 
Gregory VII., 49 
XII., 57 and sqq. 

Gregory the Great v. Papal Infalli 
bility, 353 
Guibert, Archbishop, 251 andjy^., 


Gladstone, 101 

HADRIAN VI., 65, 73 
Hasenclever, 314 and sqq. 
Haynald, Archbishop, 273 
Hefele, Bishop, 26, 37, 43 and;??., 

191, 202, 241, 271, 277, 307 and 

Hohenlohe, Cardinal, 208 and^f., 

, Prince, 207 and sqq., 305 and 

Honorius, 22, 32, 33, 35 and sqq., 

39 and sqq., 46, 134, 168, 360; De 

Maistre on, 150; Gratry on, 179 
Hurter, 346 and sqq. 
Husenbeth, 101 

IMMACULATE Conception, 229, 
248, 255 

Implicit and explicit truth, 25 

Infallibility, not conferred on St 
Peter, 7, 8 ; Infallibility and 
authority, 9, 15, 17; Infallibility 
of the Church, 77, 94, no, in, 
115, 1 68 and sqq., 343. See 

, Papal, 21, 42 ; works out as 

Infallibility of the Church, 77, 
94; officially denied in Lyons 
and Rouen, 97 ; by English 
Roman Catholics of eighteenth 
century, 100; by Faith of 
Catholics, 106; nature of Infalli 
bility, 340 and sqq., conditions of 
its exercise, 357 and sqq., cf. n ; 
parallel drawn between dogma 
of Christ s Divinity and that of In 
fallibility, 113 and sqq \ doctrine 
of intention, 360, 361 

, Carson s list of Infallible 

utterances, 364 

, Choupin s list, 363 

, Franzelin s list, 363 

and the Council of Trent, 70 ; 

the question not mentioned at 
beginning of the Vatican Council, 
232, 238 



Infallibility, Romanist utterances 
on : 

Acton, 327 and sqq., 333 
Aquinas, 30, 51 and sqq. 
Baine, 101 
Bellarmine, 73 
Bossuet, 89 and sqq. 
Butler, 101 
Clifford, 102, 245 
Council of Constance, 60, 61 
Darboy, 161, 265, 266, 292 
Dechamps, 165 
Delahogue, 107 
Dollinger, 320 and sqq. 
Dupanloup, 162, 170 and sqq. 
Gallitzin, no 
Gratry, 179 and sqq. 
Gregory the Great, 353 
Guibert, 251 and sqq. 
Hadrian VI., 65, 84 
Hefele, 204, 212, 241, 307 
Janus, 193 

Keenarfs Catechism , in and sqq. 
Kenrick, 247, 302 
Khayath, 213, 215 
Krautheimer, 201 
Liebermann, 200 
De Lisle, 108 
Luzerne, 146 
Maret, 167 and sqq. 
Melchers, 241, 311 
Milner, no 
Munich, Theological Faculty of, 


Murray, 115, 116 
Newman, 282 and sqq., 359 and 


Pie, 255 
Purcell, 246 
Ryder, 3 54 and sqq. 
Schulte, 289 
Sorbonne, 58 

Torquemada, 77 ; cf. 94, 108 
Veron, 84 
Wurtzburg, Theological Faculty 

of, 198, 199 


Intention, doctrine of, 360, 361 

Iremeus, St, II and sqq. 

JANUS, 27, 54, 182, 192, 193; I 
Dublin Review on, 195 

Jerome, St, 20, 21 
John IV., 33 
XXIII., 60 

KEEN AN s Catechism, 1 1 1 and sqq. 
Kenrick, Archbishop, 8, 18, 27, 

247, 271, 300 and sqq. 
Ketteler, Bishop, 240, 269 
Khayath, Bishop, 213 and sqq. 
Krautheimer, 201 

Lamennais, 153, 169 
Langen, 313 
Legouve, 299, 300 
Leo II., 35, 38, 40 

XIII., 15 

the Great, 364, 365 

Letters, three, issued by Pius IX. 
before the Council, 220 and sqq. 
Liber Ditirnus, 35, 36 
Liberius, 20/21, 22 
Liebermann, 200 and sqq. 
Liguori, 323 

Lisle, A. P. de, 108, 109, 286, 287 
Lorraine, Cardinal de, 69 
Luzerne, Cardinal, 145 and sqq. 

MAISTRE, Joseph de, 147 and sqq. ; 

Lenormant on, 153 
Manning, 104 and sqq., 133 and 

sqq., 232 
Maret, Bishop, 8, 12, 13, 19, 26, 

152, 167, 256, 271, 293 
Martin I., 34, 38 

V. , 60 and sqq. 

Melchers, 241, 311 
Melchior, Cano, 30, 53 
Milner s End of Religious Con 
troversy, 109 
Monothelite heresy, 32, 33 and 

Montalembert, 154, 178, 183 and 

sqq., 198 
Murray s Tractatus de Ecclesia 

Christi, 115, 116 

NAPOLEON and reconstruction of 
French Episcopate, 143 and sqq. 

III., 250 

Newman, 130 and sqq., 177, 226, 
280 and sqq., 348, 359 and sqq,, 



New Regulations, the, 253 and 

Nicea, Canon of, on Episcopal 

consecration, 69 

ORIENTAL Churches, attitude of, 


Orsi, Cardinal, 94 

PASTOR, 56, 57 

Patrizzi, Cardinal, 252 and sqq. 

Paul, St, 5, 12, 16, 20 

Perron, Cardinal du, 80 and sqq.) 


Perrone, 12, 19, 20 
Peter, St, 2 and sqq., 12, 14, 16, 

17, 67, 68, 72, 75, 86, 87, 167, 

1 68, 244 

Pie, Bishop, 255 and sqq. 
Pighius, 73 
Pisa, Council of, 59 
Pitra, Cardinal, 276 
Pius IX., his three letters before 

the Council, 220 and sqq. ; his 

character, 269 
Purcell, Bishop, 246 
Pusey, 225 and sqq. 

QUIRINUS, 174 and sqq. 
Quotations from Holy Scripture : 

St Luke xxii. 32, p. 2 

Rom. i. n, p. 5 

1 Thess. iii. 2 ; iii. 13, p. 5 

2 Thess. ii. 17 ; iii. 3, p. 6 
Heb. i. 12, p. 4 

1 Pet. v. 10, p. 6. 

2 Pet. i. 12, p. 6 
Rev. iii. 2, p. 6 

RAUSCHER, Cardinal, 240 
Reusch, 311 and sqq. 
Richelieu, Cardinal, 79 
Richer, 69, 80, 81 
Ryder, 344, 354 

SCHISM, Great, 55, and sqq. 
Schwane, 12, 51, 52, 53, 76, 77, 

Schwarzenberg, 190 and sqq., 271 

Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 

32 and sqq. 
Sibour, 184 
Sirmond, 36 
Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, 

32, 33) 43 

Sorbonne, 58, 79 and sqq. 
Stephen, Bishop of Rome, 16, 18 
Strossmayer, Bishop, 183, 237, 271 

TEMPORAL and spiritual power, 49, 
50, 207 and sqq. ; Bossuet on, 
88, 89 ; Sibour on, 184 ; Fenelon 
on, 49 

Tertullian, 13 

Throgmorton, Sir John, 98 and 
sqq., 102 

Torquemada, 76, 77 and sqq. 

Tradition, Christian, 13, 22, 24, 50 

Trent, Council of, 66, and sqq., 70; 
appealed to by Veron, 83 

Truth, test of. See Vincent of Lerins 

Turmel, 30, 38-41, 46, 53 

Ullathorne, Bishop, 103, 121, 128, 
132, 284, 290 

Ultramontane methods of contro 
versy, 262, 325 

Ultramontanism, Acton on, 336 

Universities, position of in the 
Church, 85 

Urban VI., 56 and sqq. 

Validity of Decrees not imparted by 

Papal confirmation, 63 
Vatican Council, Infallibility not 

mentioned at the beginning of 

it, 232, 238 

Veron s Rule of Faith, 83, 84 
Veuillot, 177, 181 
Vincent of Lerins, St, 22 and sqq., 

50, 189, 367 

WARD, 116, 117, 129 
, Bernard, 100 

, W.,98 

Will, relation of human and divine, 

341 and sqq. 
Wiseman, Cardinal, 102-104, 119 


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